October 19, 2014

Ivy Branch of the Hatfield and McCoy trails, Julian, WV

Ivy Branch-65 miles of trails- 8% Easy, 28% Medium, 38% Difficult, 26% Very Difficult

  Our new found camping guides Curt and Jay took us out on the Ivy Branch trail.  We drove along highway 119, 1 1/2 miles, then turned right on highway 3, for 1 mile to the Ivy Branch Trailhead.  This is the only trail that allows trucks/jeeps on the trail.  They enjoy driving on the Red- most difficult trails, which consist of large rock climbing. We were told the Black- difficult trails, are harder than Little Coal River trail. We only saw one jeep all day.

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  Once again the trails are well marked, but on this side of Hwy 119, we were riding higher up on the mountain at a elevation of 1,100 or lower. The Little Coal River Campground is at 770 ft elevation.

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The trails were fun to ride, forest, streams, mud holes to drive thru and an old cemetery on a hill top.  We stopped to visit the fallen hero's of WWII, and many of the graves were babies from the 20's.  Some were so old and moss covered it was hard to read the small headstones .We do not know the history, it could of been an old town up on the mountain.  This is off trail 39, between trails 35 & 38.  GPS# 38* 11.563N 081* 51.291W

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   We stopped at several overlooks, admiring the valley below or across the holler. You will also  see sandstone cliffs, with water seeping out of the face.  We came across a huge boulder, queer since there was no others in the area, nor a mountain for it to roll down!  You will come across many vines hanging down from the trees, as if Tarzan has dropped it for another one along the trail. The flowing streams meander all through out the trail system.

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   We were checking out the Very Difficult trails, marked black with red lines.  They are for rock climbing or pulling with winches! The pictures don't show the height or the difficulty of the climb. 
It was a great day of riding, the sun came out. It was great to have a guide,  Curt was the leader and kept track of which of the trails we had rode.  We traveled 42 miles this day.

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  1. Looks like you guys are having a ball! Sorry we missed your call the other night!

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  3. Both my parents were born and raised there and though I know you guys enjoy the land, it saddens me to have their homeplaces run over by ATV trails. Furthermore, I cannot take my 83 year old mother back to show me the land of her old homeplace unless I sign up as an ATV rider and get one to ride her in on. I just read an online post from someone tracing their family who inquired as to how to find the cemetery there and so I decided to look, and found this site that mentions and photographs some of the headstones. I just heard that this particular segment of the trail is temporarily closing with a change of ownership. Much as I am for progress, I could not help but be glad.


Thanks for coming along!