Canaan Mountain Backcountry


Canaan Mountain is a high elevation plateau ranging in elevations from 4,145 feet at Pointy Knob to 3,100 feet near Blackwater Falls State Park. The semi-primitive area consists of approximately 13,532 acres on the top of the plateau. Since Canaan Mountain is relatively flat, there are many seasonally wet places.

The Allegheny Trail connects this trail between the Blackwater Falls State Park and Canaan Valley State Park.The Park and the Forest offer a "walk on the wild side" to those who wish to travel between parks or camp in a park and take day hikes. Maps of the park trails can be obtained at the park visitor centers.

Many of the trails are great for mountain bikes, but please use discretion on wet trails to avoid environmental damage. There are three trail shelters on a first come, first served basis. One is near the intersection of the Allegheny and Plantation trails, a second is on the Railroad Grade Trail south  of Plantation Trail, and the third is on the west side of the Pointy Knob Trail.

Additional Resources

At a Glance

  • Motor vehicles are restricted to roads and parking areas.
Closest Towns: Canaan Valley, WV and Davis, WV
Water: Purify all water or bring your own.
Restroom: None
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Cheat Ranger District

General Information


Located west of State route 32 between Canaan Valley State Park and Blackwater Falls State Park near Davis. Take Route 32 south 3.3 miles from the Blackwater River bridge in Davis to a large white sign that points to ""#1 Wilderness Road."" This is the Canaan Loop Road.

The road is approximately 18 miles long and good for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Driving is permitted, although you should exercise caution, especially when in a low-clearance vehicle. The road makes a loop from Route 32 to Blackwater Falls State Park, covering much of the perimeter of Canaan Mountain.

The northern portions of this road are on private land. Visitors should call Allegheny Wood Products to secure permission before traveling on the northern portion of the road.

General Notes:

General Guidelines

  • Practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics: do not build a camp within 200 feet of streams.
  • Trails can be muddy and wet so be prepared to get your feet wet. Wear proper footwear.
  • Bring drinking water; otherwise, treat water from streams and springs before drinking to kill harmful pathogens.
  • During hunting seasons, hikers are encouraged to wear high visibility clothing.
  • Light weight camping stoves are encouraged.

Highlighted Trails

Lindy Run Trail, FT #109 - This trail , 1.3 mile trail crosses the Plateau of Canaan Mountain and follows Lindy Run downstream towards Blackwater Falls State Park and the Canaan Loop Road. The northern end of the trail is no longer maintained by the Forest Service as it ends on private land.

Allegheny Trail, FT #701. This 5 mile section runs from Blackwater Falls State Park to Canaan Valley State Park. The section from Blackwater Falls to the Canaan Loop Road is often called the Davis Trail, and the section from the Canaan Loop Road to Canaan Valley State Park is often called the Canaan-Blackwater Cross-country Ski Trail. A 6-person adirondack shelter is located just north of the junction with Plantation Trail. The Allegheny Trail continues south of Canaan Valley State Park along the Glady Fork River and eventually ends up in Virginia. It also continues north of Blackwater Falls State Park and goes to Pennsylvania.

Plantation Trail, FT #101. Approximate hiking time: 4.0 hours. The major trail on Canaan Mountain, it starts 2.2 miles south of the Blackwater bridge in Davis on Route 32 and cuts Canaan Mountain in half, running 8.4 miles southwesterly until it hits the Canaan Loop Road. Most of the trail runs along the top of the Canaan Mountain plateau, therefore flat places on the trail do not drain well. This trail is especially sensitive to environmental damage due to its high use, poor drainage, and the average annual rainfall of 50 inches in this area. Portions of the east end of this trail are particularly pretty in June when rhododendron and mountain laurel are in bloom. 

Pointy Knob Trail, FT #139. Approximate hiking time: 2.6 hours. This is a 5.4 mile loop trail that lies south of Canaan Loop Road. The west end of the trail follows the south fork of Red Run and can be seasonally wet. Two high elevation knobs can be found off the southern end of the loop: Pointy Knob, 4,145 feet, and Chimney Rock, 4,081 feet. Two other unnamed high elevation knobs are between Pointy Knob and Chimney Rock. Chimney Rock is an interesting sandstone formation. Please respect private lands in this area.

Table Rock (Overlook) Trail, FT #113. This 1.2 miles trail is located at the western end of the Canaan Loop Road. It leads to a nice overlook and a rock face suitable for technical rock climbing. Please do not attempt these climbs unless you have the equipment and experience for technical rock climbing.

Mountainside Trail, FT #114. This is 6.0 mile loop trail at the western end of Canaan Loop Road. The best access of this trail is from the north end where there is a sign and parking. The trail follows an old railroad grade along the western side of a point on the Canaan Mountain plateau before rounding the point and joining up with FR 244A on the south side of the point. The trail follows FR 244A to FR 244 and back to Canaan Loop Road.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Camping & Cabins

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