McDonough Wildlife Refuge - Trail Running

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A perfect blend of convenience, accessibility, and options, McDonough Wildlife Refuge is the place to go if you want to get in a quick and easy trail run.

Written by

Clay Abney


5.0 miles

There are 5 miles of trails at the park. The Main Loop trail is the longest at 2.1 miles, which you can shorten or lengthen by taking intersecting trails like the Marsh Run Trail or the White-Tail Trail.

Destination Distance From Downtown

67.1 miles


2 of 5 diamonds

While most of the trails are relatively easy, there are some sections that require technical navigation of roots. There are also some stairs on the Main Loop trail.

Time To Complete

2 hours

With 5 miles of trails, it’s unlikely that you could run here for more than a couple hours, but actual time will depend on which trail(s) you decide to take.


All Seasons

The park is open year round, with cross-country skiing in winter.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits




McDonough Wildlife Refuge, near the small town of Vienna, WV, is the perfect blend of convenience, accessibility, and options if you want to get in a quick trail run. With 5 miles of trails ranging from easy to moderate, it’s a great place to stop by after work to get some exercise with your 4-legged friend. As the name implies, you are likely to spot several species of wildlife at the park, like white-tailed deer, turkey, geese and ducks. If you are lucky, you might see a red or gray fox, or a coyote.

What Makes It Great

The 277-acre McDonough Wildlife Refuge has half a dozen trails that total about 5 miles. Individual trails range from 0.3 to 2.1 miles, including a 0.4-mile trail that’s accessible for people who use wheelchairs. The trails here are well-marked and easy to follow.

The 2.1-mile Main Loop trail is a good place to start your run. It has a lot of different options to mix things up, including side trails and a set of stairs for a nice warm-up at the start the run or an extra challenge to finish it off, depending on whether you run the loop clockwise or counterclockwise.

You can just run the Main Loop itself, or you can hop on the short side trails, the .3-mile White-Tail Trail or the .6-mile Marsh Run Trail, to add a little diversity to your run. The Marsh Run Trail will take you by a pond— your best bet to see the migratory (and nonmigratory) waterfowl that hang out there. Both of these trails reconnect with the Main Loop trail and are not out-and-backs.

You can also connect the Main Loop trail with the second longest trail in the park, the 1.85-mile ZigZag Trail (you can do the this trail on its own, too, but it’s set up like a lollipop so it takes some backtracking). To run from the Main Loop trail to ZigZag, take the Piney Point Trail, a 0.15-mile connector trail between the two. This route will add another mile or so onto your run, making it about 3 miles.

Who is Going to Love It

The park’s location is ideal for runners who are looking for an outdoor escape during a lunch break or on the weekend. With most trails ranging from easy to moderate, the park offers something for just about anyone looking to get outside, although the mileage may not be enough to challenge runners who are looking for a longer distance.

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 fee to enter or park at the wildlife refuge. Bikes are not allowed.

Park hours are from dawn until dusk, 7 days a week.

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McDonough Wildlife Refuge

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