West Virginia’s Hardy County, just two hours southwest of Washington, D.C., offers a wealth of trails to roam and as well as history to explore. Sometimes the two combine, as in Lost River State Park’s paths through historic Lighthorse Harry Lee property or the heritage driving tours being planned to meander along Hardy’s 26 historic districts and structures.
Other trails in this mountainous county are full-on outdoor adventures, including the Great North Mountain trails and the new youth mountain biking trail in the pipeline for Lost River State Park. All of Hardy’s trails are excellent choices for folks who want to get away from crowds and immerse themselves in a peaceful environment.
The youth mountain biking trail, a family-friendly course being designed to help young riders enhance their skills, is expected to be completed in a new section of the park by early next summer. A joint project of the Lost River State Park (LRSP) and Lost River Trails Coalition (LRTC), the trail has a roster of supporters and planners drawing from an impressive community of globally competitive mountain bike racers. Jeremiah Bishop, for instance, is an 18-time member of the USA Cycling National Team and has won all of the major U.S. mountain bike stage races. Others have qualified for the Olympics and competed internationally.
Hardy County CVB Director Michele Mouré-Reeves, who brought the two entities together on the project, said the new trail will also serve a youth mountain biking group starting in county schools.
“We want to expand opportunities for everyone with easily accessed trails,” she said.
Lost River State Park already has two mountain bike trails – the East Ridge Trail and the Covey Cove Trail – and LRSP is looking to add trails for all levels designed with input from professional cyclists.
“The coalition people are experts on riding and know what is necessary to create and maintain a system of trails,” said park superintendent Mike Foster.
The Heritage Trail, on the slate for completion within the next two years, is a driving trail, guiding motorists along the county’s picturesque roads to such sites as the Lost River General Store, a French and Indian War battle site, and numerous 18th-century houses. Aided by research from West Virginia University faculty and students, information about historic sites along the trail will be accessed through a mobile app and website. The county seat of Moorefield is one of West Virginia’s oldest towns and many historic structures are still standing along the main streets.
Visiting this area provides a feast for the eyes. The panorama unfolds as one crosses the Alleghenies into West Virginia’s widest valley. One of the southern Appalachian’s two natural lakes hides in between ridges here, at the U.S. Forest Service’s Trout Pond Recreation Area. Lost River State Park with its stunning overlooks and Civilian Conservation Corps cabins, offers 23 miles of trails and a view that extends twice as far. The trails and camping opportunities of the Monongahela National Forest and the Washington and Jefferson National Forests lie to the east and southwest.
For more information on Hardy County, please contact Hardy County CVB at www.visithardywv.com or (304) 897-8700.