Tent Camping Heaven
There are no trails leaving directly from the campground, other than the short walk to the rock outcrop by the picnic area, but there is a whole wilderness just to the north. Less than a mile away, on Forest Road 303, which you passed on the way in, lies the main trailhead for the southern side of the Otter Creek Wilderness. The area's 20,000 acres of rocky ridges and rhododendron-lined creeks thrive, along with the wildlife, under wilderness protection since 1975.
Here, you can start the upper end of the Otter Creek Trail. This 11-mile footpath is the backbone of the trail system. Several loop hikes can be made using a combination of trails. One circuit starts north down the Otter Creek Trail and turns right on the Mylius Gap Trail. Climb up to Mylius Gap, then turn right on the Shavers Mountain Trail and follow it for 4.3 miles to the Hedrick Camp Trail. Turn right here and you'll soon intersect the Otter Creek Trail for a 9.4-mile loop.
Or start at the top of Otter Creek Trail and walk 4.4 miles down to Pothole Falls, Otter Creek's tallest fall. Then return the way you came. To stay in the high country, start at Alpena Gap, near U.S. 33 and walk out along Shavers Mountain Trail.
What To See and Do
Even as remote as Bear Heaven seems, the fully equipped town of Elkins is just 10 miles away, in case you need supplies or any civilized trappings. Between Elkins and Bear Heaven is the Bowden Fish Hatchery. If you have never visited a hatchery, check it out. There are fish of all sizes swimming in the tanks. It may inspire you take a rod down to Otter Creek and toss a line for the native brook trout lying secretively in the cool pools. Then you can return up to your mountaintop camp called Bear Heaven.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication