The Beall Trail to Blackwater View Trail at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Cortland, West Virginia is an easy 3.2 mile out-and-back hike that combines a few different trails. This hike starts off at the parking lot for the Beall Trails and heads east from the parking lot along the Beall Bridge Trail before hitting the Beall Loop.
Take a left at the first trail junction, which heads north along the Beall Loop. You'll eventually hike up to the first right-hand turn on the trail which leads down to a 'viewing platform' of the wetlands area. This short spur trail is no longer than 0.1 miles out-and-back.
Continuing further from the first right-hand turn to the wetlands, you'll find yet another trail junction on your right-hand side - this is the trailhead for the Blackwater View Trail. Take this right-hand turn and the trail will head downhill before turning left and running the along Blackwater River. The trail sits above the river with minimal views below - most views of the river can be found during the colder months when no leaves are on the trees.
Not too far in on the Blackwater View Trail, the trail will take a right-hand turn to head downhill and toward the water. Note that during this trip (late March 2018), the trail heading downhill toward the river was closed off, hence we turned back here.
This is one of the best hikes at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge as you end up hiking through at least 4 different types of environments - scrub-lands, deciduous forests, coniferous forests, and open fields.
Biking: By taking this exact route, biking is allowed. Please see the trail map PDF for more details about where biking is/is not allowed at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
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