A hiking trail at Audra State Park looks down over the Middle Fork River.
A hiking trail at Audra State Park looks down over the Middle Fork River.

Three hiking trails you don’t want to miss

BUCKHANNON – West Virginia is known for the peace and tranquility it offers outdoors enthusiasts, and Upshur County, located in the heart of the state, offers three distinct trails where nature lovers looking for fresh mountain air, a bit of serenity and some scenic views can get outside and imbibe.

Upshur County Trails, Old Oak Trail and Alum Creek and Cave Trail afford visitors and residents top-notch opportunities to refresh their minds, bodies and souls, all while getting in some mood-boosting movement. So, if you’re not from north-central West Virginia – or even if you are – here’s a look at three hiking, biking, jogging and nature-watching trails that are hidden gems.

Upshur County Trails in Tennerton

Upshur County Trails
The entrance to Upshur County Trails.
Upshur County Trails
The 5.5 mile Upshur County Trails system caters to both hikers and mountain bikers.
The trails are accessible in the winter months as well. (Photo by Samuel Walker)

This 5.5-mile loop is located adjacent to Buckhannon-Upshur High School in Tennerton, and over the past two years, local volunteers have come together to convert the wooded area into a versatile trail system that caters to everyone from families to hikers to bird watchers to mountain bikers.

There are two entrances to the trail, which features moderately difficult terrain. Hikers, mountain bikers and joggers may tour the entire pathway or sample smaller sections that are broken up into seven parts: the Pines, Roundabout, Holly Shed, Crossings, Whale Trail, Witches Fingers and Well Road.

Local Upshur County Trails volunteer Rachel Weber, a runner who often enjoys jaunts through the Upshur County wilderness, said the trail showcases spectacular views year-round, including wildflower patches, vivid fall colors, striking switchbacks and evergreen trees.

Mountain bikers may enjoy a handful of carefully constructed jumps and obstacles, but don’t worry hikers and joggers – there are always simple footpaths around them.

Visit the Upshur County Trails’ Facebook page for the most up-to-date information about trail conditions or find directions on All Trails.

Old Oak Trail in French Creek

Old Oak Trail at the West Virginia Wildlife Center
Old Oak Trail at the West Virginia Wildlife Center
A fishing pond along the Old Oak Trail at the West Virginia Wildlife Center.
A fishing pond along the Old Oak Trail at the West Virginia Wildlife Center.

While the West Virginia Wildlife Center is well-known throughout the Mountain State as a unique open-air zoological facility featuring native and introduced wildlife, the 1.5-mile Old Oak Trail that winds around the wildlife center’s fishing pond is a well-kept, but oh-so-scenic secret.

Accessible near the coyote enclosure, the Old Oak Trail is comprised of moderate, rolling terrain that features a diverse forest with wooden bridges, a bench or two for a mid-hike rest and a fishing pond around which it winds.

Marked with red triangles, the Old Oak Trail also intersects with a shorter half-mile Fire Line Trail, making it possible for hikers to complete a figure-eight walk through the woods if they want.

Click here for a trail map.  

Alum Creek and Cave Trail in Audra State Park

A wooden bridge winds under a rock overhang in Audra State Park.
A wooden bridge winds under a rock overhang in Audra State Park.

Located on the border of Barbour and Upshur counties, Audra State Park is famous for the clear, bubbling Middle Fork River which flows through it. While swimmers enjoy wading through the shallower rocky rapids and deeper still pools of water in the summertime, one of the best views of the pristine river is from above, along the meandering Alum Creek and Cave Trail, an easy 2.7-mile trek that’s ideal for families and photographers.

Not only the does the trail afford hikers a stunning view of the Middle Fork, kids and adults alike will relish exploring a boardwalk and the Alum Cave overhang along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, including white-tailed deer, and the hallmark rhododendron thickets that line your path, along with maple, oak and pine trees. You’ll find a trail map on the West Virginia State Parks website.

In the meantime, dust off those hiking boots or find a pair of sturdy shoes and lace up: the mountains and trails of Upshur County are calling.

This story produced in partnership with the Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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