6 Great Hikes near Huntington, WV

October 24, 2017

6 Great Hiking Trails near Huntington, WV

Six Hiking Trails near Huntington West Virginia

As a resident of the area, I've looked high and low for some of the best trails within an hour's drive of Huntington WV.  I know there are some city parks that offer some decent trails, but for my list, I wanted to really take you into the woods, away from the noise of town and where you're least likely to have to share the trail with others. 

First on my list is:

Lake Vesuvius - Ironton, Ohio

Lake Vesuvius Trail Map
Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

The Vesuvius Recreation Area, named for the old Vesuvius iron furnace, is the Wayne National Forest’s premier developed site. This 143-acre lake and 1200-acre complex is located 6.5 miles north of Ironton, just off State Route 93 and Co. Road 29. The narrows of Storms Creek offered a site for this lake, which was dammed in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corp. The rugged hills and cliffs offer a scenic backdrop for this historical and beautiful site.

The two best trails here are:

  • Lakeshore Trail 
Photo Courtesy of Jill of the Huntington Area Hiking Club

The Lakeshore trail is an 8 mile trail that follows the waterline around Lake Vesuvius along rock bluffs and across foot bridges. This trail can take more than 4 hours to hike so bring plenty of water and snacks. Start at the boat dock and follow the accessible boardwalk, cross the dam, and begin your 8 mile adventure! This scenic trail takes you under overhanging hemlock, along rock bluffs, and across foot bridges.

  • Vesuvius Backpack Trail

The Vesuvius Backpack Trail is a 17.28 mile trail that goes through difficult rugged terrain and dense vegetation. The landscape is striking, taking backpackers through open fields, brushland, mature forests, and along the lakeshore.  A permit is not required for foot traffic, but mountain bikes must obtain a permit. Camping and fires are allowed along the trail as long as the campsite is 150 feet from the trail and the fire site is cleared in a 10 foot area.

Close second is:

Beech Fork State Park -  Barboursville, WV

Beech Fork Trail Map
Courtesy of West Virginia State Parks

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed Beech Fork Lake in the 1970s to control flooding of Twelvepole Creek. The lake also was developed to create recreational and wildlife management including a marina, swimming beach and picnic area. Beech Fork State Park officially opened in 1979.

Beech Fork State Park offers some of the best recreational opportunities in West Virginia’s southwestern region. Visitors to this 3,144-acre park can hike in the hills, watch birds, fish or take a boat out on Beech Fork Lake. The lake is a 720-acre reservoir, with 31 miles of shoreline. Located 12 miles south of Huntington and Barboursville, Beech Fork State Park is the perfect getaway for visitors from neighboring states and cities, like Cincinnati, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky.

  • Lost Trail 

Photo by Michelle Tabor, 2017

The Lost Trail is 3.5 Miles long. This is a long and strenuous trail that contains steep inclines. The trail provides access points to the remote and more difficult Mary Davis Trail. This is one of my most frequented trails in the tri-state area.

Read my Trail Report of the Lost Trail.

  • Mary Davis Trail 

Photo by Brian Tabor, 2014

The Mary Davis is 5 Miles long. This trail spurs off the Lost Trail at two entrance/exit points. The trail is long and strenuous with several unmanaged trail spurs. This trail begins on the State Park and leads into the Wildlife Management Area. Hikers are encouraged to wear blaze orange during hunting seasons. They tell you it's 5 miles, but you have to do 2 miles of the Lost Trail before and after to get back to civilization, so be prepared to hike 7 miles if you go out for this hike.

Read my Trail Report of the Mary Davis Trail.

And third is:

Carter Caves Resort State Park - Olive Hill, KY

Carter Caves Trail Map
Courtesy of Kentucky State Parks.

On July 31, 1946, the citizens of Carter and surrounding counties donated 945 acres to the Commonwealth of Kentucky for a state park. Contained in this tract are some of the most impressive caves in the state. Additional land has been obtained, making a total of some 2,000 acres. Carter and Cascade Caves are the best-known caverns in eastern Kentucky. Located in north-central Carter County, the Carter and Cascade Cave system is comprised of more than 20 caverns. Four of these caves are open for tours.

Carter Caves State Park has several natural bridges. Smokey Bridge is the largest natural bridge in Kentucky. Carter Cave Natural Bridge is the only one in the state with a paved road on top.

  • Three Bridges Trail

This 3.5 mile hike highlights soem of the park's best features. This popular trail highlights three of the parks natural bridges including Smoky Bridge (the park’s largest), Raven Bridge and Fern Bridge. The trail overlooks many vistas of Smoky Valley Lake and travels alongside many impressive sandstone cliffs. Red blazes mark trail.

  • Kiser Hollow Trail

This 9 mile multi use trail passes the mature hardwood of Tygart State Forest, the scenic Smoky Creek Valley and old home places in Kiser Hollow. This trail is steep and rocky in places. Avoid the Tygart State Forest section of this trail or wear blaze orange during designated hunting seasons. Yellow blazes mark trail.

And thus concludes 6 Great Hiking Trails withing an hour of Huntington, WV. I hike these trails often, sometimes with just Brian, sometimes with the Huntington Area Hiking Club, and hopefully in the future with MtnChicks.

Do you have a favorite trail that I missed? Let me know in the comments.

Hopefully, I'll see you out on the trails! Have Fun!

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