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By: CJ Rena Johnson

Hatfield-McCoy Trails

Hatfield-McCoy National TrailFest 10th Anniversary Celebration

Views from Above
Views from Above

Rockhouse Tunnel
Rockhouse Tunnel

On the Trail
On the Trail

Hatfield-McCoy Van
Hatfield-McCoy Van

Hatfield-McCoy Crew
Hatfield-McCoy Crew

Gilbert Volunteer Fire Department
Gilbert Volunteer Fire Department

Friendly Staff
Friendly Staff

Vivian Livingood Mayor of Gilbert
Vivian Livingood Mayor of Gilbert

Mud Bog Participant

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 ever.

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.

Vendors

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.

Special Guests

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.

Events

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 trail riding.

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. The 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 trail.

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 trail system.

If you are closer to the towns of Williamson, Delbarton, or Matewan, you can check out the historic 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.

The 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 to the 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% extremely difficult.

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.

TrailFest 2011

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 again.

Participant packages are available on their website at 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.


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