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Batoff Mountain

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Batoff Mountain, NE of Beckley, WV, in December (2008)
Map of Batoff Mountain and vicinity

Batoff Mountain, in north-central Raleigh County, near Fayette County, rises to 2,594 feet above sea level on the New River Gorge and roughly 5.3 miles NE of Beckley, WV. The unincorporated community of Piney View, WV, is located on the flank of Battoff Mountain above Piney Creek.

"Batoff" is a corruption of the French word "batteaux," a term for flat-bottomed boats that were floated down the river from Hinton, WV, in the early 1800s. Such craft were, however, unreliable on the rough New River, and at least one wrecked near the foot of the mountain, according to local historical accounts.

The winding and sometimes worrisome descent of highway 41 from the Batoff upland into the gorge earned the area the grim title of "bad off," and the name is occasionally misspelled "Badoff Mountain." The "bad off" nomenclature may predate the modern highway: the wagon road that descended the route was subject to rockfalls and mudslides.

The route was also part of an east-west prehistoric trail that descended from Batoff to "Warford" on the New River. It forded the river and ascended Backus Mountain, or "War Ridge," in Fayette County.