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Corridor G: Road to adventure and fun

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By Butch Cooper

bcooper@cnpapers.com

304-348-4806

Looking to cool down, Water Ways Park, just 20 miles south of Charleston, is currently the area’s only operational water park, featuring five tube slides. an Olympic-sized swimming pool, kiddie pools with slides and swings and a lazy river.

Corridor G (U.S. 119), like all corridors throughout the region, was built to open up rural areas of the state with easy-access, four-lane highways.

Thanks to the new highway, people can now travel from Charleston to Williamson in good time with easy access to towns such as Madison, Logan and Chapmanville.

This also opened up the area for outdoor enthusiasts, leading to important attractions like the Hatfield & McCoy Trails and the new elk preserves popping up in southwestern West Virginia.

The following are just some of the places you can visit on a trip along Corridor G.

KANAWHA STATE FOREST

EXIT: Left at Oakwood Road, six miles from Corridor G

Just a little more than seven miles from downtown Charleston, the 9,300-acre Kanawha State Forest provides plenty of hiking and mountain biking along with popular picnic and camping areas. The KSF caters to RVs (26 feet and less), pop-up and tent camping.

The KSF is noted among naturalists for its diverse wildflower and bird populations in addition to rich cove forest sites that provide nesting habitat for 19 species of wood warblers, a feature which draws birders from as far away as Canada.

WEBSITE: kanawhastateforest.com

LITTLE CREEK PARK

EXIT: Davis Creek Road/South Charleston, two miles from Corridor G

Located in South Charleston, Little Creek Park is home to a golf course, a disc golf course, numerous athletic fields, a soapbox derby racing track and picnic facilities. There is also plenty of hiking, including sights such as a natural rock formation known as “Devil’s Tea Table,” the old sawmill and a natural spring.

WEBSITE: southcharlestonwv.org/little-creek-park/

CABELA’S

EXIT: Southridge Boulvard, less than a mile from Corridor G

Cabela’s is the region’s premier store for hunting, fishing, outdoor gear and more. At 80,000 square feet, people are sure to find what they are looking for as they make their way to locales farther along Corridor G.

WEBSITE: cabelas.com

COAL RIVER GROUP KAYAK RENTAL

EXIT: Alum Creek, eight miles from Corridor G

Located at Meadowood Park at Tornado, the headquarters of the Coal River Group offers rentals for canoe and kayaks and a full livery service with shuttles for trips on the main Coal River. They also offer several deluxe boats for rent, including specialized fishing and touring kayaks. The group also plays host to the Run for the River Triathlon in April and the Tour de Coal kayak and canoe river float in June. The CRG helps clean and maintain the 88 miles of the Coal River system and the rentals.

WEBSITE: coalrivergroup.com

FORKS OF COAL STATE NATURAL AREA

EXIT: Rocky Branch Road

Just off Corridor G is one of the newest attractions in the area, the Forks of Coal State Natural Area. The FOC is home to three hiking trails where nature lovers can enjoy the scenery from wildflowers and meadows to rock formations and excellent views of the forks themselves.

WEBSITE: Facebook at Forks of Coal State Natural Area

WATER WAYS PARK

EXIT: Little Coal River Road, just off Corridor G

Looking to cool down, Water Ways Park, just 20 miles south of Charleston, is currently the area’s only operational water park, featuring five tube slides. an Olympic-sized swimming pool, kiddie pools with slides and swings and a lazy river. Water Ways also features an 18-hole miniature golf course, a mile-long walking and nature trail, and picnic shelters.

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays.

WEBSITE: waterwayspark.net

UPPER MUD RIVER LAKE

EXIT: W.Va. 3/Hamlin, 16 miles from Corridor G

Upper Mud River Lake is a 306-acre fishing lake located in the middle of Lincoln County. The catch-and-release largemouth bass is recognized as some of the best in the state. In addition to fishing, which also includes bluegill, channel catfish and muskellunge, there are picnic areas and a swimming beach.

Big Ugly Wildlife Management Area

EXIT: Route 10/Chapmanville, 16 miles from Corridor G

Found near the community of Leet, the 3,061-acre Big Ugly WMA is made up of steep terrain covered in mixed hardwoods. It provides hunting opportunities for deer, raccoon, squirrel, turkey and more.

CHIEF LOGAN STATE PARK

EXIT: Old Logan Road, five miles from Corridor G

Located in the heart of the southern coalfields, outside of Logan, the 4,000-acre Chief Logan State Park offers camping, a swimming pool, hiking, a wildlife center, picnic shelters and minature golf. The park is best known for its outdoor amphitheater, which features numerous productions, including the annual “Aracoma Story.” The Chief Logan Lodge, meanwhile, provides comfortable accommodations.

WEBSITES: chiefloganstatepark.com, chiefloganlodge.com

HATFIELD & MCCOY TRAILS (Bearwallow and Buffalo Mountain Trailheads)

EXIT: Bearwallow: W.Va. 73/10 (Logan), 8 miles from Corridor G. Buffalo Mountain: W.Va. 65 South (Delbarton/Matewan), 10 miles from Corridor G

Of the numerous trails making up the Hatfield & McCoy Trail system, the Bearwallow Trail not only allows for ATVs, UTVs (side-by-sides) and dirt bikes, but 4x4s and off-road vehicles, as well. Bearwallow and Buffalo Mountain are two of the three original trails in the Hatfield & McCoy system and are the closest to Corridor G.

WEBSITE: www.trailsheaven.com

TOMBLIN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA AND ELK COUNTRY

A recent project has been the reintroduction of elk in southwestern West Virginia. The Tomblin WMA, which makes up nearly 24,000 acres of the 44,000 acres set aside for the elk, straddles both sides of Corridor G near the town of Holden. While hunting is unlikely for another few years, the chance of viewing these animals can be considered worthwhile.


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