Coopers Rock State
Forest gets its name from a legend about a fugitive
who hid from the law near what is now the overlook.
A cooper by trade, he resumed making barrels at his
new mountain hideout, selling them to people in
nearby communities. He lived and worked in the
forest for many years.
Depression, between 1936 and 1942, the Civilian
Conservation Corps (CCC) built numerous structures
in the forest, often using durable American chestnut
wood from trees that succumbed to a blight that
nearly wiped out the species. Eleven of these
structures, including the rustic picnic shelters
near the overlook, have been included on the
National Register of Historic Places.
Coopers Rock State
Forest is 13 miles east of Morgantown and 8 miles
west of Bruceton Mills. Its 12,713 acres are
bisected by Interstate 68. Although the forest
serves as a recreation and preservation area, it has
a wider range of uses. West Virginia's state forests
also serve as areas of publicly owned land for
forestry research, timber management, and watershed
and wildlife protection.
The side north of
Interstate 68, known as the WVU Forest, makes up the
forest management area leased by the West Virginia
University Division of Forestry for forestry
research, teaching, and demonstration. To the south
of I-68 is the main recreation area.
Bands of rockcliffs
line the Cheat River Gorge and provide numerous
overlooks. The centerpiece among these is the main
overlook, which furnishes a panorama of the gorge
and distant horizons. A maze of enormous boulders
and cliffs fascinates hikers, and the trails are
especially lovely in June when the rhododendron and
mountain laurel are in bloom. Several trails wind
through forest valleys and over ridges, and a number
of creeks beckon the explorer.
Glade Run is dammed
to form a 6-acre pond that is regularly stocked with
trout. The observant hiker can hear and sometimes
see squirrels, chipmunks, hawks, owls, turkeys,
turkey vulture, songbirds, fox and deer throughout
picnic sites and three shelters are provided for the
enjoyment of forest visitors. These sites offer
tables, grills, drinking water and toilet
facilities. The shelters may be reserved by calling
the forest office at Phone: (304) 594-1561,
Monday-Friday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm.