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By: Tim Donaldson

Hatfield-McCoy Trails – Bearwallow

Hatfield-McCoy Trails – Bearwallow
(Part of’s Feature Coverage of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails)

I don’t know about you, but when I go ATV riding, there are very few times that I return from a trip where I feel satisfied with the miles or hours that I just logged for the day. It seems that someone in my group gets tired, needs to take a break, stops every few miles to shoot the breeze, or simply wants to go for a short, leisurely ride. You know, that’s fine, and I love doing that, too. Yet, there are times when I just want to push the envelope to the point where, when finished with the ride, I have to crawl to my vehicle from exhaustion. It’s all about the conquest, accomplishing a mission, and blowing off some steam while seeing what’s around or over the next corner or hill.

If you enjoy similar types of adventures from time-to-time, then Hatfield-McCoy’s Bearwallow Trail System is the place for you. Bearwallow is noted for its most-difficult level and rocky trails and will easily test the limits of seasoned ATV enthusiasts. However, don’t get the wrong idea. The Hatfield-McCoy Trails (HMT) takes safety very seriously, and the trails at Bearwallow are clearly and well marked. With signage indicating easiest, more difficult, most difficult, extreme difficult (double-black diamond), and single track trails, ATVers can stick to routes that suit their experience and skills.

While knowing trail difficulty is vital to rider safety, It is important to note that though each of HMT’s trail systems use the same incremental trail difficulty ratings, not all “black diamond” or “most difficult” labeled trails are created equal. “What does that mean?” you ask. It means that a black diamond trail at Little Coal River–a markedly easier trail system, due geographic topography–is not the same as a black diamond trail at Bearwallow. Trails at the HMT’s are rated according to their respective scale for each trail system. So, with that in mind, the black diamond trails at Bearwallow are tough and the double-black diamond (Trails 59 and 88) are exceptionally difficult–arguably the most demanding of the HMT’s.

With trails like 59 and 88 as keystones for a day of extreme riding to get the heart pounding and blood flowing, it is nice knowing that instead of crawling into your vehicle from exhaustion, you can simply ride into the town of Logan to enjoy the local amenities to get charged up for more riding. Logan is an ATV-friendly community that allows ATVs to drive legally inside the city limits. Riders must observe traffic laws and wear the appropriate safety gear. As one of the larger community connectors within the HMT region, the Bearwallow Trail System has direct access to gas, food, and lodging. The Logan area is rich in historic interests, as well.

Since Logan offers so many accommodations, attractions, and is easily accessible from the trail system, ATVers visiting Bearwallow will have time and want to explore the more than 71 miles of trails. Of those trails–28% are green (easiest), 41% are blue (more difficult), 17% are black (most difficult), and 14% are orange (single track only). Having one trailhead/ranger station (Dingess Rum), there is an ample parking and unloading area. The trailhead/ranger station posts important trail information so riders have the latest information on conditions or trail closures. Riders can also purchase souvenirs or use the available restroom facilities, which are nice and warm in the winter, at the trailhead/ranger station. Points of interest along the trail include abandoned mining entrances, scenic overlooks, and regal rock formations.

While Bearwallow already serves as a great venue for ATV riders, Jeffrey Lusk–Executive Director of the HMT’s–says, “Future plans for the trail system include a link to Chief Logan State Park, which is a 4000-acre park located just outside of Logan, WV. That will give our riders access to a 25-site campground, outdoor amphitheater, picnic shelters, a wildlife center, a swimming pool with water slide, tennis, and miniature golf.” Through such diverse community offerings, the Hatfield-McCoy Trails are hoping to support the needs of the entire family’s ATV adventure. Bearwallow is also located very near the Little Coal River (LCR) Trail System, so if you think the trails may be a little too much for the whole family, be sure to stop by so everyone in the family can get some seat time at the Hatfield-McCoy Trails.

As we continue our journey through the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, it is evident that each trail system has its own personality. Bearwallow steps in as “Beauty and the Beast” by complimenting great scenery with some of the best white-knuckle trails of the east coast. Take time to visit the Bearwallow Trail System and don’t forget, Hatfield-McCoy Trail permits allow entry onto each of Hatfield-McCoy’s Trail Systems. For 2009, Hatfield-McCoy Trail permits are $26.50 (WV residents) and $50 (non-WV residents) and are good for all of 2009. Make this the year that you visit all of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails and the Bearwallow Trail System. It will be an adventure that you never forget!

Stay tuned to, as we continue our in-depth coverage of the individual trail systems that make up the Hatfield-McCoy Trails! For more information about the Bearwallow Trail System and the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, visit

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