From an old mine to a raptor observatory, this group of hikes includes a few short options to longer scenic routes.
The most-well known hike in Craig County might be Dragon’s Tooth, which includes a unique geologic feature that consists of Tuscarora quartzite spires which outcrop on the top of Cove Mountain. The tallest “tooth” projects roughly 35 feet above the surrounding rock. The trail to Dragon’s Tooth ascends steep, rugged outcrops of quartzite which form the spine of Cove Mountain and North Mountain.
The other can’t-miss hike includes the half-hour jaunt up to Hanging Rock Observatory. Since 1952, Hanging Rock has been a monitoring point for hawk, eagle, falcon, and osprey migration along the birds’ eastern route (August through November).
Dragon’s Tooth is a unique geologic feature that consists of Tuscarora quartzite spires which outcrop on the top of Cove Mountain. The tallest “tooth” projects roughly 35 feet above the surrounding rock. The trail to Dragon’s Tooth ascends steep, rugged outcrops of quartzite which form the spine of Cove Mountain and North Mountain. The spine is known as Dragon’s Back.
Note: The Dragon’s Tooth hike is one of the most popular hikes along the entire Appalachian Trail and sees a tremendous amount of hiker traffic. The trailhead parking lot (Rt. 311) has limited space; DO NOT PARK on Rt. 311 – YOU WILL BE TOWED. It is ideal to hike this on a weekday as weekends are very crowded. Vehicles not parked in the parking lot are subject to tow. Please read specific rules and regulations at the bottom of this description.
Directions to Trail Head
Rules & Regulations
The Fenwick Forest Walk is a 1-mile nature trail. The wetland trail allows you to observe wetlands created by beavers; follow the trail through wetlands and open forests to see a variety of wildlife and vegetation that live in this environment.
The trails are wheelchair accessible. The site has a large picnic shelter, grills, toilets, and a fishing pond.
Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory is a half-hour hike with great views (and birdwatching) located in Monroe County, West Virginia. The hike takes you to the observatory. Since 1952, Hanging Rock has been a monitoring point for hawk, eagle, falcon, and osprey migration along the birds’ eastern route.
Hanging Rock Tower is a simple forest service fire tower on top of a mountain. There is no electricity, running water, or bathroom facilities other than an outdoor toilet. You need to take drinking water. Other items you may want to consider are binoculars, food, sunglasses, an extra layer of clothing, sunscreen, hat, bird books, and comfortable hiking shoes.
The hike up the mountain takes 20 to 40 minutes.
Hoop Hole Loop has two loops. The lower loop is 4 miles and skips the views from the ridge top and the extended loop is 9 miles. Both loops offer beautiful views of the streams cascading over rocks and swimming holes.
The longer loop climbs to the top of the ridge for scenic views of the surrounding mountains. One could try to reach certain cliffs from the ridgetop for more expanded views. The trail is very rugged and good footwear is necessary. Also, the trail makers are sometimes difficult to see with yellow blazes.
Elevation on top of Potts Mountain is over 3,600 feet, affording great views in all directions. There are no facilities on the trail, but connector (white-blazed) trailheads to Pines Campground have hand pumps for water and vault toilets.
Roaring Run is an excellent hiking trail for the whole family. The easy, well-marked trail begins at a historic iron furnace and winds back and forth along the Roaring Run stream. You will pass rock walls, cascading water, and cross five footbridges before ending at beautiful Roaring Run Falls.
It is also a great trout stream with a natural water slide at lower levels. At higher levels, it becomes a Class V+ creek.
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