nature trips

trail running




kid friendly

wild flowers

mountain biking


Located just seven miles south of Charleston, West Virginia, Kanawha State Forest is in close proximity to the heavily populated Kanawha Valley and is a recreational haven. Some of the state's most popular picnic areas are here, along with significant hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing opportunities. A playground attracts families during the summer season and the fully equipped campground is one of the few in the Charleston area. Camping at Kanawha State Forest is remote in nature given the proximity to the states capitol city. Sites cater to camper units of 26-feet or less, pop-up and tent camping. Campsite reservations are available from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. The 9,300-acre forest is noted among naturalists for its diverse wildflower and bird populations. Rich cove forest sites provide nesting habitat for 19 species of wood warblers, a feature which draws birders from as far away as Canada. The forest offers some of West Virginias best special hikes in winter, spring and fall.

2 days ago

Not easy! My kids struggled with steep terrain and lots of huge trees to climb over. Beautiful though!!

15 days ago

Great for those starting, have health issues, older folks or you children or just a easy stroll through the woods.

Great for those starting, have health issues, older folks or you children or just a easy stroll through the woods.

16 days ago

It was a great hike but there was a lot of trees had to climb over not good for kids

1 month ago

Pretty tough trail - definitely moderate, lots of steep hills. It is a loop, but making the loop requires walking along the road for about 1/2 mile.

This trail is clearly marked and easy to find if you are already walking along Davis creek trail toward the South end.
However, if you are coming just for this trail, I think the best place to park is at the other end of the trail. There is a small gravel lot on the right before the turn off to Dunlop Hollow. Follow the trail up a steep hill, and you will intersect a gravel road. This intersection can be a bit confusing, but follow the arrows on the wooden signs and you will find the other half of the trail a short way down the gravel road. When While Hollow trail ends, it will intersect Davis Creek Trail. Turn left, follow Davis Creek trail to the end, and then go left along the road about half a mile to your car.
In summer, there is a bit of overgrowth on some parts of this trail. Wear long pants or wait until cooler weather if this is something that bothers you.

I absolutely love this trail! I come to Kanawha State Forest often and this is a stop every time. It is definitely not an easy hike, so be warned. I would say moderate to difficult, as most of it is straight up a steep hill. It does make a nice loop, which is great for people like me who hate backtracking on hikes.

If you are coming to this trail for the overlook, I recommend beginning at the first entrance to the trail (not the one at the bow range). To find it, enter the forest by the main road. Go just past the turn-off to the pool and park in the small, unmarked gravel lot on the left. A sign across the road marks the entrance to Overlook trail. From there, it is a short 15 minute hike (about half a mile) straight up to the overlook. The rock at the top provides a great spot for photos, a quick picnic, or just resting after the climb. For a casual hiker looking for a quick hike with a rewarding view at the end, this is the best way to go - as long as you are in shape.

From there, your options are to go back down the way you came, or to continue along the rest of the trail (about a mile). In summer, I do not recommend continuing this way for the casual hiker, as the underbrush is quite heavy along a lot of the trail (this means briers and poison ivy). This half of the trail is not as difficult, but I do find the overgrowth unpleasant. This half of the trail is not as heavily traveled which probably contributes to this. However, it is a nice hike in other seasons, and when you come out the other end, it is a very short walk along the main road to get back to your car.

Was a great trial, however, I'm only giving it a 4 star because once you get to the top and start down the other side it was not properly marked.

You start on Davis Creek trail and split off on white hollow trail. It is not called Kanawha state forest trail. The sign leading to White Hollow trail was blazed orange, but the blazes through the trail were blue ! Once you are to the top you must walk down a gravel road a piece and reconnect with white hollow trail. Once you go down the trail and make it to the look out rock is where the blazes become confusing. There are lighter blue markers leading to the right wrap around the rock, but the trail actually goes over the hill and to the left. Once you make it to the bottom, you will need to either go back the way you came or walk down the main road a piece and reconnect with Davis Creek trail.

This trail is very challenging in places and easy in others. Overall this was a great hike !!!

Not so much hard as it was steep. only woods view. Several downed tree tops.

Short but nice trail for kids.

1 month ago

Tough trail for beginners, especially with kids in tow! Would do it again though!