A Weekend Exploring the Hatfield-McCoy Region: A Journey through History and Adventure
Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Southern West Virginia, you'll find the Hatfield-McCoy Region. This area offers a blend of history, scenic landscapes, and outdoor adventures. This was our first time visiting, and it's safe to say we're hooked!
Beyond the rugged mountain beauty, we found charming small towns brimming with culture and some of the warmest, friendliest people we've ever met. I'm thrilled to share everything we experienced to assist you in planning your Almost Heaven vacation.
Before visiting the Hatfield-McCoy region of West Virginia, I wanted to understand the history. I had always heard about the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud but never knew the whole story or why it even began. I was surprised to learn just how intricate and complicated this feud really was. It all started over political differences, land disputes, and personal grudges, which led to a feud that stretched on for many years.
The most famous Hatfield was "Devil Anse" Hatfield, and the McCoys were led by Randolph "Randall" McCoy. This feud involved theft, fights, and even some tragic deaths. The Hatfield-McCoy feud ended in 1891 and later the two families signed an official truce in 2003 which included an agreement to stop the violence and the legal pursuit of each other. Today, the Hatfield-McCoy feud is remembered as one of the most famous family feuds in American history.
Things to do:
Hatfield McCoy trails
No trip to the Hatfield-McCoy Region is complete without an off-roading adventure on the Hatfield-McCoy Trails. This trail system spans over 1,000 miles through 9 counties in the Hatfield- McCoy mountains. They wind through forests, over hills, and along streams, so you get to see some beautiful nature along the way. I love exploring off-the-beaten-path places and this is literally one of them!
There are 11 different trail systems for all skill levels. You can visit trailsheaven.com to find more information on each trail. Many of the trail systems connect to small ATV-friendly towns so you can drive your ATV straight to where you're staying without having to load it up. The Ivy Branch, Bearwallow, and Cabwaylingo trails are the only trails that allow full-sized, off-road vehicles such as Jeeps and Land Cruisers.
Before you hit the trails make sure to get a permit. They are $26.50 for WV residents and $50 for non-residents. Permits are valid from the time of purchase until December 31st of that year. You can purchase them at a trailhead facility, or at one of over 180 authorized HMT permit vendor locations.
Looking to rent an ATV for your Hatfield-McCoy adventure? ATV rentals are available all across the Hatfield-McCoy trail system. These rental places typically provide direct access to the trails and offer all the equipment you'll need for your ride. Plus, some of them have convenient extras like lodging, gas, and on-site restaurants.
For more details and to find the right rental spot for you, you can check out additional information here. It's your one-stop resource for making the most of your ATV experience on the Hatfield-McCoy trails.
My husband and I explored the Rockhouse trail during our visit to the Hatfield-McCoy region. This trail is the largest in the system, offering over 100 miles of adventure, and it's one of the original ones that opened back in 2000.
We had an absolute blast navigating the twists and turns of this rocky trail, winding through the beautiful hills. Our first stop was at a waterfall along Trail 13. As we got out to take a look at the waterfall, a gust of wind picked up, and hundreds of leaves gracefully fell from the trees. It was such a beautiful sight.
Continuing our journey, we found our way to a scenic overlook that offered breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Even though it was a cloudy day when we visited, we could still appreciate the stunning scenery. On a clear day, I can only imagine how spectacular the view must be.
After winding through some switchbacks and enjoying even more views, we made our way back to the trailhead. I was so surprised we were out on the trail for nearly 3hrs! It was a lot of fun and I can see why people can do this for days!
Hatfield Homeplace and Museum
12790 Jerry W Hwy, Sarah Ann, WV 25644
When we visited this historic site and museum, we had the privilege of meeting Jack Hatfield, who is "Devil Anse" Hatfield's 3rd great-grandson. He also holds the position of president and managing director at Hatfield Homeplace and Museum. This area is where Devil Anse last lived and found his final resting place in the family cemetery not far from the homeplace.
The bridge you cross to access the museum was constructed by Devil Anse himself! The first thing that caught my eye was the Hatfield family's well, which they used for producing their own moonshine. The moment we entered the museum, we were surrounded by relics and Hatfield McCoy family history.
If you're not familiar with Hatfield-McCoy history, be sure to read the timeline of events in the museum. Some of the items we discovered in this museum included relics found on the property, pictures, Devil Anse's gun, and old documents. Additionally, there's a gift shop that offers one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Adjacent to the museum is the "Eat’n With the Hatfields" food truck, which serves an assortment of sandwiches and sides.
Hatfield Family Cemetery
Rt. 44, WV, 25601
The cemetery is located down the road from the museum and is marked with a historical marker. There is some parking available on the side of the road. We walked up a steep hill with rocks to get to the cemetery and immediately spotted the famous gravesite of "Devil Anse". His gravesite is marked by a lifesize marble statue that was modeled from photographs and imported from Italy. Below the statue, we noticed the names of his 13 children. You can find more information at mywvhome.com/1900s/hatfield.html
Hatfield McCoy Moonshine Distillery
297 James Ave, Gilbert, WV 25621
This distillery is located in the ATV-friendly town of Gilbert and is the perfect stop to make after a day of riding. This moonshine is made from the original Hatfield family recipe that was passed down to Nancy Hatfield, who is the great-great-granddaughter of "Devil Anse" Hatfield. They also make award-winning bourbon and flavored moonshine such as apple pie, cinnamon, and even cotton candy.
I loved the cinnamon moonshine and my husband loved the bourbon. We got to meet the owner and master distiller, Chad Bishop who walked us through the process of making moonshine. He also signed the bottles we took home!
Chief Logan State Park
376 Little Buffalo Creek Rd, Logan, WV 25601
This beautiful state park spans over 4,000 acres and offers a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, picnicking, camping, and fishing. As soon as we entered, we spotted five deer grazing in the grass. We drove a little further and saw a buck crossing the street!
Camping facilities with both tent and RV sites are available, allowing visitors to stay in a beautiful natural setting. The park also offers recreational facilities like an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, and playgrounds for families to enjoy. In the fall, it's the perfect place for leaf peeping and enjoying nature.
TrailFest is an annual event that occurs every October. It is situated in the ATV-friendly town of Gilbert, providing direct access to the Hatfield-McCoy trails. This festival is unlike anything I've experienced before! I was so surprised to witness numerous ATVs driving around town, with rows of them parked for the festival. Typically spanning a couple of days, this festival offers a wide array of activities, including prizes, drag racing, live music, vendors, food trucks, scavenger hunts, and much more.
We had a fantastic time trying different foods, listening to live music, watching dirt bikes race, and even witnessing someone carving wood with a chainsaw. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of the Hatfield-McCoy region.
WV Fire & Ice Festival
This annual event is organized by the Logan County Chamber of Commerce. It showcases craft beer, wine tastings, and a competitive chili cookoff. It's typically located at the Logan County Airport, which provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the mountains. When you purchase a ticket, you receive a small beer mug for your tastings and a token. This token is used for voting for your favorite chili.
It was so much fun to witness everyone's creative take on their special chili recipes, and in my opinion, they were all winners! We listened to live music during the event and watched the sky transform into a kaleidoscope of different shades of orange as the sun set behind the mountains. It was the perfect evening!
Where to Eat
24 Main Ave. Logan WV 25601
Chirico's is a cozy Italian restaurant that serves authentic Italian dishes. I love that many of their recipes have been passed down through generations of the Chirico family. As I walked in, I was greeted by the delicious aroma of Italian herbs and spices. The menu includes soups, sandwiches, pizzas, and pasta. Trust me on this, you'll want to leave room for dessert and try their famous brickle. It's a frozen dessert with layers of cream cheese, buttery pecan brickle, caramel, and a graham cracker crust. I'm still thinking about it to this day, and the next time I'm in town, you'll find me here!
120 Stratton St #3611, Logan, WV 25601
The Nu-Era Bakery, which was established in 1940 by the Comoretto family after their relocation from Italy to West Virginia, is now owned by Libby and Larry Albright. They have preserved its history by continuing to use the original recipes brought over from Italy.
You'll find a large variety of baked goods, cakes, and donuts here. We tried a local favorite, the Long John, which is a bar-shaped donut filled with custard. Our absolute favorite, though, was the cheesecake-filled donut. I also couldn't resist leaving without trying a slice of their pumpkin roll!
135 Appalachian Outpost Trail, Lyburn, WV 25632
The Broken Axle Bar and Grill is located on the Hatfield and McCoy Trail System and is a great lunch or dinner spot with 20 beers on tap. We tried a salad and their spicy battered cauliflower. Everything was so fresh and we gave the spicy cauliflower a 10/10! They have live music on most weekends and a great outside seating area with views of the mountains. If I were a local, I'd be here all the time!
Red Bird Cafe & Ice Cream Shop
135 Appalachian Outpost Trail, Lyburn, WV, 25632
This charming cafe is located next to the Broken Axle and is the perfect stop for coffee or dessert. I tried a scoop of pumpkin ice cream, and my husband ordered the caramel apple butter latte. Honestly, we wanted to sample everything from their seasonal fall menu!
Four Seasons Country Store
97 Justice Ave, Logan, WV 25601
As soon as we arrived at the Four Seasons Country Store, I knew it would become one of my favorite shops in Logan. The store was adorned with an abundance of fall decor, mums, and pumpkins. In addition to offering fantastic shopping, the store also features local produce and a deli, which serves as an excellent lunch option, providing sandwiches, cheese, and salads.
Where to Stay
Chief Logan Lodge
1000 Conference Center Dr, Logan, WV 25601
This cozy mountain lodge is located in Chief Logan State Park. It has 75 rooms and suites, a full-service restaurant, an indoor pool, a fitness room, and a hot tub. We were greeted by the friendliest staff during the check-in process who gave us tons of recommendations on places to visit in the area.
We stayed in a spacious king suite that included a gas fireplace and a large bathroom with a tub. They also have rooms with balconies available.
Don't forget to stop in at the gift shop in the lobby. It's full of locally made gifts including wine, honey, and soaps.