The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge

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Location: Tucker County, east of Davis, WV

The Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 15,000 acres of wilderness habitat in the Canaan Valley in northeastern West Virginia, one of the largest wetland environments in the Mountain State. One of the highest perched valleys in the Appalachian Mountains, the Canaan provides habitat for many northern species and is characterized by wetlands of shrubby upland vegetation. More than 40 miles of road and trail circuit the area, providing plenty of access for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and wildlife observation.

Hiking: Hiking is extremely popular in the refuge, and is the preferred means for wildlife observation. Trail access to the area's bogs and wetlands is plentiful. A short boardwalk at the Freeland Road trail leads visitors through marsh to a bold spring and beaver pond.

Skiing and Snowshoeing: Thirty-one miles of trail are open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter; ten are exclusively snowshoe and cross-country tracts. The valley's lofty elevation also accounts for the popularity of two ski resorts south of the refuge.

Biking and Horseback Riding: Bicycles are permitted on 23 miles of trail in the refuge, and horses are permitted on 22. Both offer ideal means of reaching a large part of the refuge.

The Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge preserves an ecosystem that might otherwise have suffered from commercial development. The valley is part of one of the state's most popular outdoor-recreation areas. Two ski areas -- at Timberline and Canaan Valley State Park -- draw thousands of skiers December through March. The valley's elevation at 4,000 feet above sea level assures that snow will stay on the ground through winter.

Nearby Blackwater Falls State Park is a popular resort and cross-country skiing destination. In the northern Monongahela National Forest, many natural wonders, such as Dolly Sods, Seneca Rocks and Spruce Knob (the state's highest point), are located within a half hour drive of the valley.

For more information, visit the official refuge website.

See Also: Topo Map, Aerial Imagery

[http://www.wvamaps.com/maps/index.php?place=Canaan%20Valley%20National%20Wildlife%20Refuge&state=WV&lon=-79.3919&lat=39.0975&pop=0&elev=3160&county=Tucker Map] of Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge