Located in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.
The 35,864-acre Cranberry Wilderness is located in Webster and Pocahontas counties, West Virginiawithin the Monongahela National Forest.The Cranberry is certainly one of the East's greatest Wilderness Areas. It includes the entire drainage areaof the Middle Fork of the Williams River and the North Fork of the Cranberry River. The northern andsouthern parts of the area are drained by the main Williams River and the South Fork of the CranberryRiver. Terrain is typical of the Allegheny Plateau. The mountains are broad and massive, and dissectedby deep, narrow valleys. Elevations range from 2,400 to over 4,600 feet. The primary forest cover is mixedAppalachian hardwoods, and pure red spruce stands are common at the highest elevations.
Wildlife in the area includes black bear, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, grouse, snowshoe hare, cottontailrabbit, mink, bobcat, fox and a diversity of birds, snakes, and amphibians. Naturally acidic waterconditions limit fish variety. Streams within the area are not stocked.
Hunting and fishing (and trapping) are permitted, subject to West Virginia State Hunting and FishingRegulations. However, the area is totally within the Black Bear Sanctuary, which is closed to all bearhunting by regulations of the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.
Over 50 miles of maintained hiking trails are in the wilderness. Trails are marked at intersections only,with routed, unpainted signs. All paint blazes from pre-wilderness days have been removed. The trails arenot otherwise marked, but the Gauley Ranger District does an excellent job of maintaing the trailsand looking after the place in general. The area is not heavily used, so hikers must be alert, and make sure they're followingthe existing "beaten path". Bridges are not provided at stream crossings. During periods of high water or cool temperatures, crossing streams may not be advisable. Trails are not maintained for horses.
Weather - You should plan for rain (or for snow, in winter, spring, and fall). The area receives more than 60inches of precipitation annually. The weather changes suddenly and frequently, and it's not uncommon for the area to receive 2 to 3 inches of rain or 12to 18 inches of snow in a single storm. Frost may occur during any month of the year.Know the symptoms of hypothermia and how to treat it.
Access to trailheads on the Highland Scenic Highway, Forest Road 86 and Forest Road 102 is notguaranteed from December to March since these roads are not snow plowed. The best access during thisperiod would be to park near the Cranberry Mountain Visitor center and hike along Forest Road 102 toone of the connecting wilderness trails.
For more information contact: The Monongahela National Forest
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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