Monongahela National Forest

Quick Facts

Monongahela National Forest

West Virginia

(304) 636-1800

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Monongahela National Forest is located in the north central highlands of West Virginia, the Monongahela straddles the highest ridges in the State. Elevation ranges from just under 1000' to 4863' above sea level. Variations in terrain and precipitation have created one of the most ecologically diverse National Forests in the country. Visitors to this beautiful place will enjoy breathtaking vistas, peaceful country roads, gently flowing streams, and glimpses of the many species of plants and animals that inhabit the Forest. You will also see a 'working' forest, which produces timber, water, grazing, minerals and recreational opportunities for the region and nation.

Map of Monongahela Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 38.576663, -79.920191

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Activities

  • Boating

    All of the lakes on the Monongahela National Forest are small impoundments and boating opportunities are limited to electric motors and can be used at Lake Sherwood, Spruce Knob Lake, and Lake Buffalo. Non-motorized boating areas include the following Ranger Districts, Gauley Ranger District, Greenbrier Ranger District, Potomac Ranger District, and the White Sulphur Ranger District. Contact the specific district for more information.

  • Bicycling

    Although many National Forest roads are gated to exclude public motorized use, bicycles are permitted behind the gates. Bikers are asked to minimize damage to trail treads in wet areas to protect the trail for other users. Bikers should also yield the right-of-way to hikers where trails are not wide enough to accommodate both. Check in with the nearest ranger district for more information.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    There are scenic driving opportunities throughout the forest. Check with the ranger district that you are in for more information.

  • Camping

    The forest has many camping opportunities spread out amongst the many ranger districts. For more detailed camping information contact the ranger district that you will be visiting.

  • Climbing

    Seneca Rocks is a popular climbing destination within the park.

  • Fishing

    The Monongahela is home to 87 species of fish including a wide variety of game fishes and associated non-game fish species. The Monongahela offers a diversity of freshwater fishing experiences for everyone. Visitors will find an assortment of aquatic habitats to explore and enjoy in the hundreds of miles of mountain streams and the more than 250 acres of man-made lakes on the Forest. The Monongahela National Forest features more than 600 miles of coldwater streams that are inhabited year-round by native brook trout. These streams are prized for the vital habitat they provide in sustaining West Virginia's only native trout. In addition, some trout streams on the Forest have become home to non-native rainbow and brown trout populations that are now wild and naturally reproducing. Approximately 350 miles of stream on the Forest provide seasonal trout waters that transition exclusively into coolwater or warmwater fisheries as summer makes it way into the West Virginia highlands. Many of these streams are stocked during the fall, winter, and spring with hatchery raised rainbow, golden rainbow, brown, and brook trout by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to provide put-and-take trout fishing opportunities. The warmwater angler will especially enjoy honing their skill in streams such as the South Branch Potomac River and the Greenbrier River which offer some of the State's best smallmouth bass waters. Those that enjoy the relaxing tranquility of lake fishing will want to experience the 251 acres of man-made lakes that are distributed among 4 reservoirs nestled in the mountains across the Forest. Bass, bluegill, catfish, and trout are fair game for those that wish to explore the water's depth beneath the mirrored images cast upon these lakes. Whether it is trout or bass, lakes or streams, you are sure to discover your fishing interests on the Monongahela National Forest.

  • Hiking

    The national forest features hundreds of hiking trails spread throughout the ranger districts. There are opportunities for day hiking and backpacking. Contact the ranger district that you are in for detailed hiking information.

  • Historic Sites

    Contact the park for more information.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horse use is permitted virtually everywhere on the Forest, including behind gated roads. The only places specifically prohibited at this time are at developed recreation areas such as campgrounds and picnic areas, and a few special areas such as Cranberry Glades Botanical Area. Even though horses generally have free rein, there are no areas or trails specifically constructed, managed, or maintained for horse travel, and there are no existing facilities such as corrals or loading ramps. Many of the trails are on steep side slopes, along streams or under low hanging vegetation. They are suitable for hikers, but can be easily and quickly damaged by horses. Stock users are urged to practice "Leave No Trace" (LNT) backcountry techniques to not only ensure quality experiences for others, but also to maintain the privilege of horseback riding on the Monongahela in the future.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is allowed on the Monongahela National Forest. All West Virginia Division of Natural Resources regulations govern hunting regulations on Forest. Trapping, big game, small game and hunting gamebirds/waterfowl are all permitted in the forest.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    The Monongahela National Forest does not have any trails or areas designated for Off Highway Vehicle use, but some roads in the forest are rough and may require four-wheel drive. Please do not drive off designated roads.

  • Picnicking

    The forest features 6 group picnic areas spread out through the different ranger districts in the forest. These districts are: Cheat Ranger District, Greenbrier Ranger District, Potomac Ranger District, and the White Sulphur District. Contact the specific ranger district for more detailed information. The forest features 15 picknicking areas spread out throughout the different ranger districts. These districts are: Cheat Ranger District, Gauley Ranger District, Greenbrier Ranger District, Marlinton Ranger District, Potomac Ranger District, and the White Sulphur District. Contact the specific ranger district for more information.

  • RVing

    The national forest has 17 RV friendly campgrounds throughout numerous ranger districts. These districts are Cheat Ranger District, Gauley Ranger District, Greenbrier Ranger District, Marlinton Ranger District, Potomac Ranger District, and White Sulphur Ranger District. Contact the ranger district nearest you for more detailed information.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming areas are located within the following ranger districts: Cheat Ranger District, Gauley Ranger District, and the White Sulphur Ranger District. Contact the districts for more information.

  • Wildlife Watching

    The Cranberry Mountain Nature Center has many interesting features that appeal to visitors of all ages and backgrounds, including an exhibit hall, auditorium, events and programs. One of the most popular features is the live snake display and program. Here visitors can learn about the types of birds, snakes and mammals that live in the area.

    The climate and plant life here resembles Northern Canada. This area features unique scenery and unusual plant communities. Flowering laurel, rhodedendron and azealeas highlight this area from May through June. Huckleberry picking is popular during the month of July

  • Winter Sports

    Opportunities for snowmobiling and cross country skiing exist in the park.

Park Partners

West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

The purposes of the Conservancy shall be to promote, encourage, and work for the conservation--including both preservation and wise use--and appreciation of the natural resources of West Virginia and the Nation, and especially of the Highlands Region of West Virginia, for the cultural, social, educational, physical, health, spiritual, and economic benefit of present and future generations of West Virginians and Americans.

(304) 653-4277

Directions

Driving

From Charleston, take 1-79 N toward Clarksburg. Take exit 99 to US 33 E toward Buckhannon. After 30 miles, take a slight right WV 92 S and go for four miles. Then, continue onto US 250 S/W. Turn left at Pub Rd 27 and enter the forest.

Flying

Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport is the closest larger regional airport to the park.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(304) 636-1800

Links