Coopers Rock State Forest - Trail Running

Made possible by

Photos

About

Summary

The variety of terrain and the amazing views make Coopers Rock State Forest a perfect spot for trail runners to get in an easy run or a hardcore workout.

Written by

Joe DeGaetano

Distance

50.0 miles

There are about 50 miles of trails that range from less than 1 mile to 4.5 miles.

Destination Distance From Downtown

133.1 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

The trails at Coopers Rock range from short and easy to long and strenuous.

Time To Complete

1 hours

There are several different trails and loop options, but on average, you can run the individual trails in about an hour. You can also link up the different trails for longer loops.

Seasonality

All Seasons

You can run year-round at Coopers Rock, but fall and spring have the best weather. During the winter there is usually snow, and the front gate to the park will be locked. You can still get to the trails by hiking up the main park road.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

Coopers Rock State Forest is just east of Morgantown, WV, and has almost 13,000 acres of beautifully rugged terrain. The nearly 50 miles of well-marked and signed trails are scattered throughout the park, and range from short and easy to long and challenging. Also, since it’s right off Interstate 68 and only minutes from Morgantown, there are plenty of great options for a post-run meal or nighttime entertainment.

What Makes It Great

The real selling point of Cooper’s Rock is its variety of trails. Some wind their way through a maze of boulders surrounded by rhododendron and mountain laurel, while others (like Glade Run Trail or the Mont Chateau Trail) have great views of the Cheat River Gorge and end at Messinger Lake or Cheat, respectively.

If you want see some of the more historic sites in the area, try Ken’s Run Trail, a moderate 4.5-mile run from the Sand Springs Homestead. Another great option is the Clay Run Trail that begins across from the McCollum camping area and goes out to the Henry Clay Iron Furnace. It’s a moderate 1.8-mile trail.

Shorter trails like the Rhododendron Trail (1 mile) and the Virgin Hemlock Trail (1.2 miles) are named for the trailside plantlife. The Rhododendron Trail is absolutely stunning in June when the flowers are in full bloom, creating a vibrant contrast in hues. Along Virgin Hemlock Trail, you will run through a 300-year-old hemlock grove.

Who is Going to Love It

Trail runners from beginner to expert will love Coopers Rock State Forest. Beginner runners can tackle some of the shorter trails and create short loops using the park road to create a beginner-friendly run, while more experienced trail runners might dive into a more committing, strenuous trail or loop that covers rockier, steeper terrain.

History buffs and multi-sport runners will enjoy the diversity here. The historic sites along the trails give you a glimpse into the past.

Trail runners looking for an active rest day will also love the excellent bouldering and mountain biking in Coopers Rock.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Coopers Rock is right off of Interstate-68, Exit 15. It is about 13 miles east of Morgantown, WV.

There is a campground and plenty of parking. Check out this map of the trails to decide where to park.

Similar Local Trail Running Spots

See all

More West Virginia Activities

View West Virginia

More Coopers Rock State Forest Activities

West Virginia Recommendations

Local West Virginia Stories

Location

Coopers Rock State Forest

39.656662, -79.787134

Get Directions