Special Places

Dolly SodsWilderness Areas

The National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) was created in 1964 with the passage of the Wilderness Act. Prior to the Wilderness Act, there was concern about excessive development and loss of naturalness in this country. The eastern portion of the United States had been totally within private ownership and its resources wastefully exploited. Concerned citizens were afraid the same would occur in the western portion of the country as the population grew and civilization spread. Forest reserves and national parks were created in the west to help protect some lands, and private lands in the east were purchased by the government and added to the reserve and park systems, but still the threat of development and exploitation existed. The Wilderness Act was passed to preserve natural conditions and provide opportunities for solitude.  More information...

Highlighted Areas

Cranberry Mountain Nature Center

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. Live snake shows are held most Sundays at 1 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to early October. Following the snake show is a guided tour of Cranberry Glades at 2:30 p.m.

Visitors' favorite event is the Cranberry Shindig, which is a celebration of Appalachian culture. This year's Shindig will be held Sunday, September 28, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Other events planned for this fall include a Wildflower Day on Saturday, September 13 and a guided fall color hike on Cowpasture Trail on October 4. The center also features a nature store, a native plant garden, a nature trail, and many events geared toward children.


Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area

Encompassing 100,000 acres, the scenic Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area (NRA) contains the highest peak in West Virginia, some of the best rock climbing on the east coast, outstanding views and a chance to enjoy America's great outdoors.

Congress established the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area in 1965. This area is unique because it was the first NRA to be designated in the USDA Forest Service.  Read full article...


Highland Scenic Highway

The Highland Scenic Highway, a designated National Scenic Byway, is a beautiful corridor through the National Forest.  This Byway extends 43 miles from Richwood to US Route 219.  It has four developed scenic overlooks. Each site provides a comfortable rest stop, with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The Highway traverses the mountainous terrain of the Allegheny Highlands and Plateau, and rises from Richwood, elevation 2,325 feet, to over 4,500 feet along the Parkway.

The Highway is a paved two-lane road, designated as State Routes 39 and 150. The road travels from Richwood, WV to US Highway 219, north of Marlinton, WV.  Speed limits are 55 mph for the State Route 39/55 section and 45 mph for the Parkway section. Commercial truck traffic is not allowed on the Parkway. 

Important:  See Seasonal Information.

For more information.  See Brochure and/or Map.


Seneca Rocks Discovery Center

The Seneca Rocks Discovery Center is located at the base of Seneca Rocks. It has an outstanding and majestic view of the vertical wall of Seneca Rocks dominating the scene. Read full article...


Falls Of Hills Creek

Tucked away in a narrow gorge just off the Highland Scenic Highway is a hidden treasure known as the Falls of Hills Creek Scenic Area. This popular 114 acre area contains three waterfalls - 25 feet, 45 feet, and 63 feet. The lower falls, at 63 feet is the second highest waterfall in West Virginia.


Cranberry Glades Botanical Area

The Cranberry Glades Botanical Area protects the largest area of bogs in West Virginia. Bogs are acidic wetlands more commonly found in the northern areas of this country and in Canada. The ground in a bog is spongy and consists largely of partially-decayed plant material known as peat. Because of its unique conditions, some unusual plants grow in bogs, including carnivorous or insect-eating plants. The Botanical Area encompasses 750 acres. Read full article...