Your guide to outdoor adventures at Coopers Rock State Forest

Located along the rim of the Cheat River Gorge, only 15 miles from Morgantown, Coopers Rock State Forest is one of West Virginia’s most popular destinations for outdoor adventures. There’s 50 miles of hiking trails, mountain biking trails, a fishing lake, and rock formations for climbing and bouldering. Overlooks give way to beautiful views of the Cheat River Gorge, and if you look close enough, you will spot birds and other wildlife.

A perfect place for family camping trips and summer escapes, Coopers Rock has everything you need for a day trip or weekend away. Here’s what you need to know to plan a trip.

Featured activities at Coopers Rock State Forest

You might come for the scenic views at Coopers Rock State Forest, but there are plenty of other outdoor adventures and activities to enjoy.

Coopers Rock is also a good place to hunt. Properly licensed individuals are welcome to hunt in season and only in specified areas within the forest. Forest recreational facilities are separate and are surrounded by no-hunting zones. Click here to purchase a hunting license.

Another popular activity is rock climbing and bouldering. The forest has hundreds of boulders and rock formations that offer basic problems all the way up to challenging V12s. Click here to learn more about rock climbing at Coopers Rock.

Featured trails at Coopers Rock State Forest

Whether you want to hike a short distance or explore all 50 miles of trails at Coopers Rock, there’s plenty of ground to cover during your visit. Here are a few of our favorite trails:

Clay Furnace Trail

Starts at the furnace parking area and ends at the Henry Clay iron furnace. Mostly level grade with a few steep sections.

Distance: 0.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Ravens Rock Trail

Starts at the gated road, 0.7 miles past the campground entrance, and leads to the Ravens Rock overlook, which offers a spectacular view of the Cheat River Canyon.

Distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Roadside Trail

Starts at the parking lot near the forest entrance and leads to an overlook.

Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Rock City Trail

Starts at Picnic Shelter 3 and runs through an area known as Rock City.

Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy

Places to stay at Coopers Rock State Forest

After a day of scrambling on the rocks, reeling in trout or hiking miles of trails, you’ll want to settle in for the evening at one of the Coopers Rock State Forest campgrounds.

McCollum Campground has 25 sites with electric hookups, a central bathhouse with showers, laundry and water. Wi-Fi is available for registered guests, and pets on leashes are permitted. Rhododendron Campground has 25 primitive campsites for tent or hammock camping. Each site has picnic tables and fire pits and there is a central bathhouse.

Recommended Itinerary

Day Trip
Fish at Messinger Lake
Ride a mountain bike
Hike to an overlook for sunset

Extended Trip
Fish at Messinger Lake
Ride a mountain bike
Hike to Ravens Rock overlook for sunset
Eat dinner in Morgantown
Camp at the Rhododendron Campground
Hike the trails around your campsite
Go rock climbing or bouldering

Get the most out of Coopers Rock State Forest with these pro tips

  • Coopers Rock is at the top of a hill and exposed to a lot of sunshine, so bring sunscreen and water.
  • The main scenic overlook is next to the parking area, so even if you don’t have much time to spend in the park, it’s still worth a stop to see the main scenic overlook.
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