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Coopers Rock State Forest gets its name from a legend about a fugitive who hid from the law near what is now the overlook. A cooper by trade, he resumed making barrels at his new mountain hideout, selling them to people in nearby communities. He lived and worked in the forest for many years. During the Depression, between 1936 and 1942, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built numerous structures in the forest, often using durable American chestnut wood from trees that succumbed to a blight that nearly wiped out the species. Eleven of these structures, including the rustic picnic shelters near the overlook, have been included on the National Register of Historic Places. Coopers Rock State Forest is 13 miles east of Morgantown and 8 miles west of Bruceton Mills. Its 12,713 acres are bisected by Interstate 68. Although the forest serves as a recreation and preservation area, it has a wider range of uses. West Virginia's state forests also serve as areas of publicly owned land for forestry research, timber management, and watershed and wildlife protection. The side north of Interstate 68, known as the WVU Forest, makes up the forest management area leased by the West Virginia University Division of Forestry for forestry research, teaching, and demonstration. To the south of I-68 is the main recreation area. OverlookBands of rockcliffs line the Cheat River Gorge and provide numerous overlooks. The centerpiece among these is the main overlook, which furnishes a panorama of the gorge and distant horizons. A maze of enormous boulders and cliffs fascinates hikers, and the trails are especially lovely in June when the rhododendron and mountain laurel are in bloom. Several trails wind through forest valleys and over ridges, and a number of creeks beckon the explorer. Glade Run is dammed to form a 6-acre pond that is regularly stocked with trout. The observant hiker can hear and sometimes see squirrels, chipmunks, hawks, owls, turkeys, turkey vulture, songbirds, fox and deer throughout the forest.

I had a day off and decided to hike this trail, since all the reviews said the trail was marked and easily followed I knew it would be a great hike. Unfortunately, it's not marked all that great and I ended up taking wrong turn that resulted in 1.5 miles out and back to get back onto the trail turning my 5 mile hike into 8.
I used the app the rest of the trail until i happened upon the end of it which wasn't well marked at all and eventually I just followed the road. Everything was beautiful, and had this been at my peak fitness a couple years ago I wouldn't have felt like I was going to die. I'd recommend using the app to guide you if you're going to follow this trail as it is actually a loop around several connecting trails. If you do that, you'll likely have a much better experience than I. Happy Trails!

Furnace trail is great. Plus it intersects with so many other awesome trails. The Clay Furnace is pretty interesting too.

Trail starts great down through huge boulders. Declines down into a valley with a beautiful creek and the clay furnace. The second half of the trail is pretty open without a lot of great scenery.

hiking
2 months ago

We came on a cold Sunday and this was a very nice, short walk. We actually continued on the Mont Chateau Trail all the way to Cheat Lake. Both Mont Chateau North and South are very rocky, much like a stream bed. We found the North trail to be harder to traverse. Definitely worth the Sunday trip!

hiking
2 months ago

I loved this hike. I am currently over 400 lbs, and I completed this in under three hours. If I can do it, you can too!

Neat and easy trail if you're looking to get outside without the exercise getting to strenuous. Ton of people on the day I went which was expected as the park gates were closed and this was the closest trail to the parking area.

rock climbing
3 months ago

A fun little hike, especially if you enjoy bouldering. The trail is pretty flat, but the “rock city” is enchanting and provides some fun climbing, so bring your shoes and a crash pad! We went in the late fall and saw only a few other hikers.

Nice leisurely trail!

hiking
7 months ago

This was a fun, short trail! Was the only person on the trail today! Clearly marked, well-maintained!

I enjoyed a stupendous mountain bike ride on this trail. I rode the loop counterclockwise and enjoyed just enough rocks, roots and climb for a 66 year old on a dual suspension trail bike.

hiking
8 months ago

This is a great hike! The trail begins at a parking area across from the campground entrance. You follow the trail around a pond and then begin a long descent into the valley. You come to a large, incredible clay furnace at the end of the trail. There are several trails you can choose from to make your way out of the valley. The Mont Chateau Trail, Rhododendron Trail, Clay Furnace Trail, and Clay Run Trail are all accessible and well-marked from the clay furnace. We decided to take Rhododendron Trail and jump over to Rock City Trail before taking the roadside trail back to our vehicle.

Easy trail that runs along the road. Was useful for getting through the park quickly and to get to other trails. Very easy to walk and lots of people.

hiking
8 months ago

Fun, easy walk through the rocks. Would like to go back and take my time to enjoy the formations. It was pretty busy when I was there, so I would like to go back during a weekday to enjoy the trail in solitude.

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Nice wide trail and the furnace is really cool.

The recommended route is good - except the final stretch on the clay trail is open to the sun and is a flat fire road - probably could have taken a different course. Highly recommend deviating at the beginning and starting on rattlesnake trail and then cutting over along the giant boulders. Very beautiful.

trail running
11 months ago

If you like tons of rocks, natural Waterways on trail and it's really not a loop it connects with the roadside Trail after 2.5 Mi then this Trail is for you.

Good hike on a beautiful day. The rock city trail will test your feet but still a good loop. Be sure to check out Ravens Rock.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Beautiful! Peaceful and enjoyable for the entire family!

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

Beautiful! Peaceful and enjoyable for the entire family!

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

One of my favorite trails in Cooper's Rock --- I very rarely see anyone else using it.

hiking
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Really had a good time on this trail when we went. The furnace was really cool and we even found some geocaches!

Monday, May 29, 2017

I took my 5 year old and 2 year old. They did great and my 5 year old says he "liked the clay furnace." Will do this one more.

hiking
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Hiked with my wife a few years ago ... nice trail ... and pleasant scenery as so many of the Cooper's Rock trails are.

hiking
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Nice but I generally prefer a bit more distance from roads.

hiking
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

This is a well marked great trail that will give a hiker lots of varying terrain and plenty of large fissures to explore within the boulders. The snow gave us a layer of difficulty that was not expected but added beauty to one's senses.

hiking
Saturday, April 08, 2017

This was a nice trail that was easy walk overall. The interpretative signs added a unique history of the Henry Clay Iron Furnace. The sounds of streams babbling around the area was an added feature. Would have liked to have hiked to Cheat Lake from the furnace point but was not prepared for a rigorous hike late in the day.

hiking
Friday, February 10, 2017

I really enjoyed this park. Park in the main lot by Cooper's Rock and walk 5 min to the really nice and fenced in observation area on top. A trail takes you below the rock and right through a really neat rock garden that's fun to explore. Once through that stone labyrinth you can take a trail down to a secluded beach on Cheat Lake or go uphill past an old iron furnace ruins to the road. Follow the road to the Raven Rock trail and walk a mike or so to the rock outcropping. Raven Rock is not fenced so be careful. It is the best photo spot in the park followed by Cooper's Rock. Don't miss either one. The gift store below the parking lot has great food and souvenirs, too. This was one of my favorite hikes!

hiking
Thursday, February 02, 2017

Great view and fun rocks to climb on.

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