McDonough Wildlife Refuge - Hiking

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About

Summary

While small, this 277-acre refuge has 5 miles of great trails that are perfect for that lunchtime hike or leisurely family stroll on the weekend.

Written by

Clay Abney

Distance

5.0 miles

The park has 6 trails, which range from 0.3 to 2.1 miles, including a trail that's accessible to people who use a wheelchair.

Destination Distance From Downtown

67.1 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Most of the trails are short and easy to moderate, but the Main Loop trail does have some stairs at the end.

Time To Complete

0 hours

The longest trail here is 2.1 miles, so it will take you anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on which trail you take.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Easily accessible year-round. Cross-country skiing in winter.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

The McDonough Wildlife Refuge is atop a hill near the small town of Vienna, WV. The 277-acre refuge has 6 trails, which total 5 miles. Trails range from 0.3 to 2.1 miles, including a trail that's accessible to people who use a wheelchair. Because it is a wildlife refuge, be on the lookout for turkey, white-tailed deer, geese, ducks, and maybe even a fox or coyote!

What Makes It Great

There are 2 main trails at the park: the Main Loop and the Zig Zag Trail (about 2 miles each). The Main Loop is the only trail that does not circle back on itself, and depending on which way you begin on the Main Loop trail, you can look forward to climbing or descending 5 stories of stairs. They come up almost immediately when you start in a clockwise direction, or are the final climb to the parking lot when you set off in the opposite direction. You can combine the the Main Loop with the Zig Zag Trail by taking the short Piney Point Trail. Joining the 2 will make your hike about 3 miles.

You can also vary your hike by skirting off onto different side trails off of the Main Loop, like the White-Tail Trail (0.3 miles) or the Marsh Run Trail (0.6 miles). Both of these trails rejoin the Main Loop Trail at a different point, which provides a variation or a shortened version of the Main Loop trail. If you take the Marsh Run Trail, you’ll probably see a variety of migratory (and nonmigratory) waterfowl along the pond.

This is a perfect spot for a leisurely hike. There are benches along the trail so you can stop and rest or just enjoy the wind in the trees while you listen to the squirrels scamper about in the dry leaves of the hardwood forest.

Who is Going to Love It

The park’s location is ideal for hikers who are looking for an outdoor escape during a lunch break or on a weekend. If you are a seasoned hiker, this is a good spot to log a few miles before an upcoming trip. Or if you are looking for a more leisurely stroll or want to take the kids on a walk in the woods, McDonough is a fun spot to do that, too.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Interstate 77, head south on Highway 60 to Rosemar Road. The refuge is directly across from Jackson Memorial Park.

There is no admission to the park and parking is free. Bikes are not allowed in the park, but cross-country skiing is allowed in the winter, and the trails are well-marked. Park hours are from dawn until dusk, 7 days a week.

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Location

McDonough Wildlife Refuge

39.3194, -81.5417

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