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By: CJ Rena Johnson

Little Coal River Visitor Center: The Pulse of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System

Trail Authority Tour on the Trail
Trail Authority Tour on the Trail

Tour Line-Up Ready for the Ride
Tour Line-Up Ready for the Ride

Jeffrey Luck and participants
Jeffrey Luck and participants

Some of the Media Coverage of Trail Authority Ride
Some of the Media Coverage of Trail Authority Ride

Participants of the Trail Authority Ride
Participants of the Trail Authority Ride

Participants of all ages enjoyed the Trail Authority Ride
Participants of all ages enjoyed the Trail Authority Ride

The Little Coal River Visitor Center was completed in 2008 and officially opened its doors in December. It was a great holiday present to everyone involved. It has everything you could want in a visitor center: friendly people, gifts, maps, brochures, a complete line of Hatfield-McCoy Trails merchandise, local history, cultural information, snacks, drinks, nearby accommodation rental information, Hatfield-McCoy trail use permits, and more.

The Goal of the Visitor Center

Their goal is to “serve as the gateway for trail visitors into the Hatfield-McCoy Trail Country.” They accomplish this with great success.

Where they are Located

The Visitor Center is located very conveniently on U.S. State Route 119 about 20 minutes south of Charleston, WV. It is a gorgeous log building on a beautiful piece of property. You can’t miss it as you go down the road. They have a two-plus acre parking lot with direct access to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system on the road adjacent to the Visitor Center.

Adjacent Attractions

This road is a two-mile ATV friendly loop that goes all the way from the highway at the Visitor Center around the loop to Kathryn’s Kabins and Big Earl’s Campground in one direction, passing by the parking lot mentioned above and the Waterways Trailhead entrance. If you take the road fork by the Visitor Center in the other direction, it will take you to the Little Coal River Campground.

This loop runs along a river that is so clear you can see fish swimming along with the current at almost any time of the day. There are several great places for a picnic in between rides. You might also want to go for a swim to rinse off some of the trail dirt. There are several perfect spots for this, too!

Awesome Trail System

The Waterways Trailhead leads you onto the Little Coal River Trail System. This trail system is one of the very best that West Virginia has to offer. For some great information about the Little Coal River Trail System, please go to

Private Tour with the Hatfield-McCoy Trail Authority

I was fortunate enough to be invited on a private tour with the Hatfield-McCoy Trail Authority where I learned a lot about the history of the trail systems and how they have affected the surrounding areas.

The Executive Director, Jeffrey Lusk, is very knowledgeable and explained everything to us in a way that made us feel like we were a part of the Hatfield-McCoy Heritage.

Some of What We Learned

The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System was created by the West Virginia Legislature. They wanted this endeavor to promote tourism in nine of West Virginia’s southern counties in order to generate more economic growth and development. It has done just that in all these counties. The Trail System and the growth of this area are constantly increasing.

There are currently six complete trail systems with over 500 miles of trails between them.

These trails are always evolving as weather and trail conditions change, so they never get old. You will always find something new and exciting each time you ride these trails.

The Hatfield-McCoy Trails are open 365 days a year and have something for everyone. No matter what your skill level or riding ability, style or preference, you will find the perfect trail system for you and your group.

Something for Everyone

Bring your whole family. There is something of interest for everyone it seems. The trails are open to ATVs, dirt bikes, side-x-sides, mountain bikes, horses, and hikers.

There is also a Water Park right next door that is a great place for those family members not into the whole off-road adventure. Water Ways Water Park has water slides, a lazy river to picnic next to, a Jr. size Olympic pool, two kiddy pools, waterfalls, swings, and slides. It also has a great greenway, an 18-hole miniature golf area, a go-kart track and picnic shelters with grills. For more information about this park, please go to

Visit the Visitor’s Center

If you are new to the whole Hatfield-McCoy experience or are an old hand at it, be sure to check out the Little Coal River Visitor Center on your next visit! They have information on all the different trail systems, and the people that run the Visitor Center are some of the nicest folks I have ever met. They are very informative and friendly and always seem glad to see you. They truly demonstrate a huge part of what makes West Virginia so charming.

For more information, please check out their website at or give them a call at 304-369-9342.

As always: Decide now to have an awesome day!

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