By: CJ Rena Johnson
National TrailFest 10th Anniversary Celebration
Views from Above
On the Trail
Gilbert Volunteer Fire Department
Vivian Livingood Mayor of Gilbert
Driving through the mountains of West
Virginia in the middle of peak color season is
an experience worth the trip in itself. Add
going to the best annual National TrailFest on
the east coast to the agenda, and it makes for
the perfect off-road vacation.
The Hatfield-McCoy National TrailFest Tenth Year
Celebration took all the best of the past 10
years of TrailFest, put it all together and then
threw a party making this year’s event the best
We arrived in Gilbert, WV on Wednesday hoping to
get a head start since TrailFest was not
officially supposed to start until Thursday.
However, we quickly realized we were not the
only ones with that idea in mind. Every street
corner had an ATV or ten parked there as people
packed the Larry Joe Harless Center wanting to
take full advantage of the beautiful weather.
As soon as we checked in and got all of our cool
TrailFest stuff including our ID, T-shirt, and
Trail Pass, we quickly said our hellos and
headed out into the vendor section.
There were a lot of them already on site and
more came throughout the weekend. There were all
kinds of vendors there from vehicle
manufacturers there doing demo rides to others
giving away all kinds of marketing tools to yet
others selling merchandise such as T-shirts,
ball caps, and bumper stickers.
As I walked around and looked at different
vendors and booths, I realized there was a lot
of media coverage and special guests in
attendance throughout the weekend as well.
Some of the media coverage included
representatives from ATVSource.com, On the Trail
TV, Dirt Trax, and Fishers ATV World.
There were also some charity organizations and
groups onsite for the event including members of
the Mud Buddies Foundation as well as the
Off-Road Tour for a Cure.
All the events that have become a standard of TrailFest were an integral part of this year’s
schedule and it seems they get better at them
each year. Some of these events include:
- Off-road Vehicle and Costume Parade
- Factory Demo Rides
- Nightly drag and mud bog racing
- Poker and Dice Runs
- Casino Night and Live Auction
- Fireworks on Saturday night
- Catered Meals Friday night, Saturday morning and
night, plus Sunday morning
A new tradition at TrailFest continued this year
as the third year in a row a couple got married
during the annual events.
Another part of TrailFest in Gilbert, WV that
I love so much is the ATV friendliness of the
whole town. Off-road vehicles are street legal
there, so I can actually ride my RZR all over
town. I can even drive it through the drive-thru
at McDonalds and have lunch. I can then drive
down the street, fuel up at the local Speedway,
do a bit of shopping, then go straight to the
trailhead, and ride all day if I want.
As always, one of the main attractions of the
Annual National TrailFest in Gilbert, WV is the
Hatfield-McCoy Trail System
With over 500 miles of off-road trail riding
available, as part of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail
System, there is no wonder it is one of the top
rated OHV parks in America. There are six
complete trail systems, which encompass nine
different countries in WV.
The first of the systems we will cover here is
the one with its main trailhead in Gilbert, WV.
Rockhouse Trail System runs between Gilbert
and Man and both of these towns offer fuel,
food, and lodging directly from the trail. The Rockhouse Trail System also tops out with the
most miles of any of them. It has over 89 miles
of trail and offers a variety of trail
conditions for different skill levels.
Approximately 53% of this trail system is rated
as easiest, 22% is rated as difficult, 12% is
rated as most difficult, 5% is extremely
difficult, and 8% is single-track only trails.
The nearby town of Logan offers access to two
different trail systems. My personal
favorite of these two is the
Little Coal River
Trail System. There is easy access to this trail
system from the Little Coal River Visitors
center right off of route 119 heading toward
Charleston, WV. This system has approximately 55
miles of trails, with a majority rated as easy
trails. Therefore, it is the perfect trail for
families with a variety of riding abilities to
enjoy together. In addition to the 46% of easy
trails for which this system gains so much
popularity, it also has 38% of more difficult
trails, 6% of most difficult, and 10% of
single-track only trails. Lodging and other
family-fun activities are accessible from this
The other trail system with a trailhead near
Logan is the
Bearwallow Trail System. This one
is the favorite trail system with most of the
more experienced off-road enthusiasts,
especially the dirt bike riders I interviewed.
Only 22% of this 67-mile trail system is rated
as easy trails and 44% of the trails being rated
as more difficult and another 19% of most
difficult trails. Approximately 12% of this
system’s trails are single-track only. Fuel,
food, and lodging are all accessible from this
If you are closer to the towns of Williamson,
Delbarton, or Matewan, you can check out the
Buffalo Mountain Trail System. This
approximately 86-mile system has a trailhead in Matewan and another just south of Williamson. It
also has a community connector in Delbarton.
Each of these connectors offers fuel, food, and
lodging. This system also holds two records as
far as the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System goes. The
first one being the most historical part of the
Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, and the other one
is for having the most miles of single track
trails, which make up over 20% of the trails on
this system. The rest of the trail ratios are
55% easiest, 16% more difficult, 8% most
difficult, and 1% extremely difficult.
Pinnacle Creek Trail System has one
trailhead as well as two community connectors in
Pineville and Mullens, WV, both of which offer
lodging, fuel, and food to off-road enthusiasts.
This 71.6-mile trail also has a trail connector
Indian Ridge Trail System so off-roaders can
ride from one trail system to the other legally.
Known for its awesome scenery, the Pinnacle
Creek Trail System also has a variety of trail
difficulty ratings ranging from 41% easiest to
42% more difficult, 10% most difficult, and 7%
The newest trail system added to the
Hatfield-McCoy Trail System is Indian Ridge. The
Indian Ridge Trail System has one trailhead near
Ashland, WV with a two-acre parking lot and
available restrooms. This system also has a
trail connector to the Pinnacle Creek Trail
System, making it legal for off-roaders to go
from one system to the other. There are
also community access connectors to the towns of Northfork and Keystone. Food, fuel, and lodging
are available in all of these communities. This
system has approximately 63 miles of trails with
30% of them rated as easiest, 41% more
difficult, 20% most difficult, 1% extremely
difficult, and 8% of single track.
The 11th Annual National TrailFest, scheduled
for October 6-10, 2011 in Gilbert, WV will
include all the same activities they had this
year plus a Fishers ATV World Mud Pit Run for
cash and prizes, nightly music including the
Blackwater Outlaws on Saturday night, and a
DirtTrax TV’s Pimp My Ride Contest. They are
also listing fireworks on Saturday night, which
they usually have, but said they might not have
next year, after the incident this year. If you
were there for 2010 TrailFest, you know to what
I am referring. It would be worth it to come
this year to see if the same thing happens
Participant packages are available on their
www.TrailsHeaven.com. For additional
photos and videos, you can go to this website,
10th Annual National TrailFest Photography.
I hope you have an awesome day ,and I look
forward to seeing you next year.