Cranberry Glades Botanical Area - Trail Running

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About

Summary

Get up close to one of West Virginia’s natural wonders as you run along the Cranberry Glades boardwalk through the most southern tundra bog in the country.

Written by

Neil Humphrey

Distance

0.5 miles

The boardwalk through the Glades is .5 miles one-way, making it a quick 1-mile round-trip run. There are several options for longer runs in the surrounding Cranberry Wilderness.

Destination Distance From Downtown

73.0 miles

Difficulty

1 of 5 diamonds

The boardwalk is flat, wide, and paved entirely in with wooden planks.

Time To Complete

0 hours

It will take you about 30 minutes or less to make an entire 1-mile loop, and that includes time for stopping to read the informative signs about the unique ecosystem and to take in views of the wetlands.

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

You find something different each season in the Glades. Wildflowers bloom with amazing colors in the spring and thrive throughout the summer, and then the many berry bushes blaze orange in the fall.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

This level path makes a great trip for dogs, as long as they are on leash and stay on the path. The fragile ecosystem off the path is off-limits to any foot traffic.

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

Cranberry Glades Botanical Area is nationally known as one of the most unique geographic features in West Virginia, and for good reason—its unique bogs mimic the geography of arctic tundra. When glaciers receded thousands of years ago, they left behind a terrain far different from the usual surroundings. Cranberry Glades is the most southern tundra bog in the United States.

What Makes It Great

Cranberry Glades’ unique plant life makes a run a fantastic way to experience one of the natural wonders of West Virginia. The path is made of wood planks and is entirely flat, but it rises just inches above the bog, immersing you completely in the surrounding environment. At just a .5-mile in distance, the boardwalk is a short run, but you can easily run it as an out-and-back to get in that full mile.

The run begins on the edge of the bog. On one side of the trail, there is a thicket of brambles made up of of different plants, while the opposite side is a barren bog that rises dramatically and has wonderful views of the forested mountains in the distance. You will see several young spruce trees sprouting in the meadow, and then their mature relatives as you round the corner and the trail delves into the depths of the bog. The meadow is replaced with a thick growth of pines and shrubbery on both sides of the trail, including the blueberry plants that the area is known for.

Signs throughout the bog give information about the rare species you’ll see in the glades.

Who is Going to Love It

If you are looking for a short, accessible run in a very unique environment, you will love Cranberry Glades Botanical Area. The trail is paved in wooden planks, entirely flat, and wide enough for 2 people to run side-by-side. This area is great for all members of the family or a quick jaunt with your favorite four-legged friend.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

To reach Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, take US 19 North until you get to Summersville. Take the first right onto Route 39 toward Richwood. Continue straight until the road forks into a right/left turn, and turn right toward Richwood on Route 39. After Richwood, you will be on the Highland Scenic Highway. Continue straight and you will see signs directing you to the turn-off for Cranberry Glades, which will be on your left. Once you turn off the main road, the parking area will be just about 1 mile ahead.

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Location

Cranberry Glade

38.1981, -80.27518

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