Big Draft Wilderness


The 5,144 acre Big Draft Wilderness is located on the Southern tip of the Forest, just south of Blue Bend Recreation Area and about five miles north of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. This is a popular area for hikers, hunters, paddles and anglers. The 14- mile trail system is open to hikers and equestrians, and provides numerous scenic views.

Slopes within the area range from 10 to 60% and are typically long ridges with narrow summits and mountain slopes. The primary vegetative type is oak and hickory, with pockets of hemlock and white pine. The understory consists of rhododendron, mixed shrubs, grasses and ferns. The elevations range from 1,800 feet to over 3,100 feet.

The area provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife species. Species within the area include whitetail deer, black bear, grouse, cottontail rabbit, wild turkey and a variety of birds and reptiles.


At a Glance

  • Groups over 10 persons are prohibited in the Wilderness.
  • Mountain bikes and mechanical devices such as carts are not allowed on Wilderness trails.
  • Horses are not allowed on Blue Bend Trail, TR 614.
  • Removal of plants, stone or moss is prohibited.
  • Pets must be under your control at all times.
  • Motor vehicles are restricted to roads and parking areas.
  • Camp at least 200 feet from roads, streams and trails.
  • Follow Leave No Trace ethics. More information can be found at
Closest Towns: White Sulphur Springs, WV and Alvon, WV 
Water: No potable water provided. Bring your own or purify water found on site.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: White Sulphur Ranger District

General Information


State Routes 16, 21/2, 36/1 and Forest Road 296 provide the primary access to the area.

From White Sulphur Springs to South Boundary Trailhead: Head southwest on E Main St toward Mountain Ave. Turn right onto Big Draft Rd/State Route 36/1 (6.4 mi)  Trail access will be on the left. Driving from Alvon to Blue Bend Loop Trailhead: Head east toward WV-92 N . Turn left onto WV-92 N (0.7 mi) Turn left onto Anthony Rd/State Route 16 (3.8 mi) Turn left at Hopkins Mountain Rd. Trail access is across the swinging bridge.

From Lewisburg to Anthony Creek Trailhead: Head southeast on W Washington St toward N Jefferson St/Seneca Trail. Turn left at the 1st cross street onto US-219 N/N Jefferson St/Seneca Trail (9.6 mi). Turn right onto Anthony Rd/State Route 21/2 (4.2 mi). Across the bridge, parking and access to the trail will be at the right.      

General Notes:

This is a federally dedicated wilderness area. The Forest manages wilderness to offer visitors challenge, discovery, and self-reliance. This enables you to meet nature on its terms, not modify it to suit your own. If you choose to enter one of our Wilderness areas, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Motorized and mechanical equipment, including but not limited to chainsaws, mountain bikes and deer carts are not permitted within the Wilderness.
  • Horses and other stock are permitted, except on the Blue Bend Trail. However, many of our Wilderness trails are steep, rocky, and/or boggy and are not conducive to stock use. In some places, they are narrow footpaths. Heavy stock animals create a lot of damage to soft soils or can harm themselves on the rocks. We suggest hiking in the Wilderness areas and riding in other places on the Forest.

More information on wilderness areas can be found at

Trails are not marked or blazed. Small rock cairns may mark areas where the trail is difficult to follow, but since some hikers put up or knock down cairns for their own reasons, these are not always reliable.

The trails don’t always stay in their traditional locations or where the maps indicate. In order to enhance wildness, any obstacle that can be stepped over, ducked under, or walked around without unacceptable damage to the environment or reasonable risk to safety is left in place. This allows the natural process of the Wilderness to continue with little impairment and creates a wilder, more natural appearance.

Plan ahead. Have a map before you come; they are not stocked at trailheads. Topographic maps are more useful than simple line-drawn maps. A compass should be considered a necessity.

Bridges at stream crossings are rare, existing only where they protect the stream bank from heavy use. Most of the time, you will have to ford the streams.

Highlighted Trails

Blue Bend Trail (TR 614)

This 5 mile trail is on the National Register of Historic Places. The trail begins at Blue Bend Campground and makes four switchbacks in climbing Round Mountain. On reaching the top, the trail levels off and follows a ridge before descending rapidly back toward the river. There is a trail shelter along the Blue Bend Trail that receives moderate use.

Anthony Creek Trail (TR 618)

The 3.8 mile Anthony Creek Trail is heavily used by anglers using Anthony Creek. The trail begins at Anthony Creek boat ramp or Blue Bend Campground. The trail is level and travels through hardwood forest along Anthony Creek. There is one ford of Anthony Creek that can be difficult during high water. 

South Boundary Trail (TR 615)

This 4.8 mile trail roughly follows the south boundary of the Forest. Starting at Big Draft Road (CO 36/1), the trail has several accents and descents before connecting with Anthony Creek Trail. 

Additional Resources



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Horse Riding & Camping

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