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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are a few HM threads here so I figured I would start one to compile as much info as possible in one thread.

So ride reports, trip planning, lodging, dining, mapping etc.

Just post your question here.

I ride it a couple of times a month, but since I am a local, I'm not really versed on lodging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The Hatfield-McCoy trail system in WV is a multi-county trails system in southern West Virginia. It opened in 2000 with the goal of becoming the premier ATV trail system in the country. When it opened, there were 300 miles of trails in Logan and Mingo Counties.

The Trails

Hatfield McCoy advertises that they have 10 trail systems, but in reality there are 3 large systems and 3 small systems.

The "Northern" Trails

RockHouse
(Man, WV) - One of the original trails, it opened as Browning Fork, but is now called RockHouse. It runs between the towns of Man and Gilbert and is in my opinion, one of the most challenging trails. Other that Ivy Branch, RH has the only "real" Blacks at HM, and they are no joke. Trails 32, 35, 94, 95 & 97 are no joke. Don't try them alone. RockHouse gets a reputation for being rough, but its name comes from RockHouse Creek that runs in front of the Trailhead. RockHouse has probably the best waterfall on the system.

Devil Anse (Matewan, WV) - This system was formed by taking some of the southern Buffalo Mountain trails and then building some new trails to connect Buffalo Mountain with RockHouse. Some people like it, some think it is boring. But what it does have is the 2 Hatfield Family Cemeteries and a tunnel under the road. It also has Mountain on Fire, which is an underground mine fire that vents smoke. You will smell it before you see it.

Buffalo Mountain (Delbarton, WV) - Also one of the original trails, it also has an official parking area in the town of Williamson. There are several nice overlooks and and a playground where you can sink your machine in mud if you choose. Buffalo Mountain has the most single track (dirt bikes) trails of any system, so if you ride a dirt bike, this is where you want to come.

The "Southern" Trails

Pocahontas - (Bramwell, WV) - The TH used to be in Bramwell, but has since moved up 52 to Coaldale. But Bramwell is still the hub for food and fuel. Bramwell has the distinction of having the most millionaires per capita in the early 1900's. The large, stately mansions were home to coal and timber barons and a couple have been converted to B&B's.

Indian Ridge - (Ashland, WV) - Kind of like Devil Anse, it serves as a connector between Pocahontas and Pinnacle Creek.

Pinnacle Creek - (Pineville, WV) There is also official parking in Mullens, WV.

Warrior (War, WV) - One of the newest trail system, it is home to multiple overlooks and views

The "Other" trails

BearWallow (Ethel, WV) - One of the original systems, it opened as Dingess Run. BearWallow is one of the three systems that allows Jeeps and rock buggies. It also has parking at the Country Byways Visitor Center just off 119.

Ivy Branch (Julian, WV) - After the original three, Ivy Branch opened in 2002, but closed in 2015 after the land was sold. Hatfield McCoy bought the land back and reopened Ivy in the Spring of 2021, although people continued to ride it (and the former Coal River system across 119) during the closure. Ivy also permits Jeep and rock buggies. And the Red/Blacks are extremely tough. Some of them you can't take an ATV or SXS on.

Cabwaylingo (Wilsondale, WV) - The newest system, it is a partnership between the HMRRA (Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreation Association) and the Cabwaylingo State Forest. In case you are wondering about the name, it is derived from the counties Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln and Mingo in which the State Forest is located. This system also permits Jeeps and rock buggies.

Note: The trails are graded just like ski slopes: Greens are the easiest, Blues are harder and Blacks and Red/Blacks are the hardest. But when the system was originally opened, the only SXS were the Kawasaki Mule and Polaris Ranger. The original trails were designed for ATV's. As a result, someone driving a 72", 200 HP SXS might wonder why a trail is Blue. As a "General" (NPI) rule, the Greens are rough gravel roads, the Blues will have some steeper elevation changes and maybe some mud (more like mudholes, not sink your machine mud). The Black and Red/Blacks are hit or miss. Some Blacks are just harder Blues, but some are very challenging. The Red/Blacks are extreme. Ride accordingly.

Permits

Every one must have a valid permit. Rule state it must be affixed to the left side of your helmet, but this is not enforced. As long as you have it with you, you will be fine. I have mine affixed to the lower part of my windshield since I swap helmets depending on the weather. Have been checked by DNR and they didn't say a thing about where it was.

The permits come in 2 flavors, Resident and Non-Resident. Resident permits are $26.50 and Non-Resident permits are $50. Non-Resident Military Members pay the Resident Price. Permits are good from 11/15/x1 until 12/31/x2. So if you buy a permit in June, it will be good until December 31st. If you buy one in December, it will be good until the next December 31st.

Permits are no longer sold online, but can be purchased at any of the staffed Trailheads, the Hatfield McCoy Visitor Center on US 119 at Julian, the Country Roads ByWay Visitor Center on WV 73 just off 119 at Logan or any number of local retailers:



Maps & Mapping

With all these trails, you would think you could get lost. Not at all. HM has probably the best marked trails in the country. So no worries about getting lost. But there are some options as to what maps you use from paper to electronic apps. Now on the FB groups whenever someone posts about which app to use, someone always chimes in that they have been riding it for 20 years and the paper maps are all you need. And that's fine. To each, their own. I prefer electronic to paper so I know where I am at any given point and I can also plan a route. So here are your options.

Paper Maps - HM makes them available for free at every Trailhead and most places that you can buy permits have them as well. If not, they are on the HM website in PDF format so you can download them to your phone or print them at home and bring them with you. Completely up to you.

Electronic apps - There are several to choose from starting at FREE and going up to $259. These apps have all the HM trails and some have outlaw trails as well. The nice thing about using an app is that you know exactly where you are and which way you are going at all times. More advanced features include the ability to mark your own waypoints, add your own trails and most show more "sights" than the official paper maps do. So here are the main ones. (If you use one I don't have listed, do a little write-up on it and I will add it in.)

BobT's Maps - The OG of HM maps. Bob Titzer lives in NC, is a retired engineer and loves to ride. He started making maps many years ago for himself and friends. Then as word spread, he started posting them online. The best thing about his maps is they are free. You still need a tablet and the proper apps, but the maps themselves are free. He builds maps for 2 different apps: BackCountry Navigator and Orux. Just my opinion, but BCN is easier to use, Orux is more powerful. If I want to lay down a track, I use BCN, but to follow my route, I prefer Orux. Both are around $20, but only work on an Android tablet. * You can find his maps here: MediaFire Pick which app you think you want to use and click the folder.

You can download his maps here (I can't stress enough to just download his PDF, use his links to the apps and follow his directions to a "T". Don't decide you are going ti use Orux and go download it to your tablet and then go try to load his maps. Just use his links. It will save you time and frustration.

Ride Command - Some people have it built-in to their machines, some download the RC app. I have not ever used RC, but I understand their HM maps are much better. (BobT is a contributor to them).

Trailview - This app is one of the newer ones and was developed by Jason Gunn. Jason has ridden every trail at HM himself (I have run into him twice) and has a nice app. The app is free, but individual maps run from $6.99 to $8.99 per system using in-app purchases. It is available for both iOS and Android. It is a nice app, but doesn't, as of yet, have any outlaw trails. The Trailview website is here: https://trailviewapp.com/

Lifetime Trailmaps - This is the pricey one - $259 for the app. But it has trail systems all over the country. I have it for riding in Tennessee. It is a locked down and branded version of Orux with a lot of the settings that make Orux hard to use, disabled. You can also subscribe to monthly updates for $59/yr, otherwise you get a yearly update on the anniversary of your purchase. Chris has done a great job with the app, but the basis for his HM trails, you guessed it - BobT. The website is here: Lifetime Trail Maps Home

Now what if you are technology challenged and don't want to mess with setting one up? Well, you're in luck. Several vendors around HM sell pre-loaded tablets with BobT's maps. The ones I know of off the top of my head are Ziggy's (near Pinnacle) and Arnie Toler (Rockhouse). Or you can order a preloaded one from Lifetime Trailmaps, but it is much cheaper to simply buy your own tablet. Setup of LTM is very easy.

* There are post on the FB pages almost every day wanting mapping for iPads. And there are a couple of options, but would you rather take a $150 Samsung out in the mud, or an $800+ iPad. And it must be a cellular iPad because the WiFi only ones do not have GPS chips. You don't need cell signal or even have service on the iPad, but it must be a cellular model. I personally use a Samsung Tab A 10.5 with cellular, which replaced a Tab E 9.6 WiFi. Almost any Android will work, but you need to make sure it has a GPS chip. Amazon Fire's do not. Samsung's seem to have the best GPS chips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The Rules

Of course there are rules, so here they are straight from the HM website. Most are fairly straight-forward, but I have added some explanation and context to some anyway whcih are in Red.



General Rules

  1. User permit required for all drivers and passengers. Everyone must have a permit whether riding or driving.
  2. Everyone must wear a DOT or Snell approved helmet and eye protection. Some people wear Axel mountain bike helmets and get away with it, but there are recent reports of some being ticketed or warned for these.
  3. All operators and passengers must meet manufacturer’s minimum age and size requirements. While straight-forward, they aren't going to cite you if a large 14-year old is riding an Over-16 machine as long as you aren't doing something stupid.* This also applies to 2-up riding on an ATV. If it wasn't designed at the factory for 2-riders, then it is not permitted.
  4. No one under the age of 6 is allowed on the trails under any circumstances. Enforcement of this one is spotty as some 4yo's are as big as some 7yo's. Don't strap a baby in a car seat. Spearhead Trails in VA are very similar to HM and don't have this restriction.
  5. Any operator or passenger under the age of 16 must be under the direct supervision and within eyesight of their parent or guardian at all times.
  6. Obey all signs, gates and barriers, stay on marked trails. Absolutely honor No Trespassing (also indicated by purple paint on trees), gates and barriers (rocks or logs). The staying on marked trails is at your discretion. See the section on Outlaw Trails.
  7. Trails only open during daylight hours. Hard enforcement. They don't want to try and do rescues in the dark.
  8. No littering, No camping, No fires. Self explanatory. Pack it in, pack it out.
  9. No alcohol may be consumed or possessed. Hard enforcement. Fines are steep.
  10. No glass containers of any kind.
  11. Be aware of oncoming traffic, particularly in blind curves and hills. There are lots of blind corners. Use caution coming around them.
  12. No competitions of speed, endurance or climbing ability allowed at any time without a special use permit.
  13. Operate at reasonable speeds and under control at all times
  14. All machines must be equipped with a properly functioning muffler and USFS approved spark arrestor.
ORV-Specific Rules

  1. ORVs are ONLY permitted on the Bearwallow, Cabwaylingo and Ivy Branch trail systems.
  2. Driver and passengers are required to wear helmets.
  3. Driver and passengers must have valid trail permits.
  4. A valid driver’s license is required to operate an ORV.
  5. All passengers must be 8 years of age or older OR at least 6 years of age and 4 feet tall. No booster or car seats are allowed.
  6. Seat belts must be worn at all times. the number of passengers is limited to the number of factory installed seat belts.
  7. ORVs are required to have a roll cage on all most difficult (black and black/red) trails.
UTV-Specific Rules
The driver and passengers of a UTV must:


  1. Wear helmets (DOT or SNELL approved)
  2. Wear seat belts at all times; the number of passengers is limited to the number of factory installed seat belts.
  3. Keep their hands, arms, feet, head and legs inside the vehicle at all times during operation.
  4. No booster seats or car seats are allowed
  5. Possess a valid owner’s manual for the machine being operated that is able to be produced upon request. To my knowledge, no one has ever been asked. If you're worried, download a copy to your phone.
  6. Stay on designated trails. UTVs are permitted on easiest, more difficult, and select most difficult trails (signed accordingly).
  7. UTVs must be equipped with a steering wheel and low pressure tires.
* - The "Rangers" at HM are actually state DNR Officers. They have similar authority, and in some cases, more, to the WV State Police. They are by no means rent-a cops. But they are professional LEO's and as such have discretion as to whether to cite you or not. For the most part, if you aren't doing something stupid and creating a dangerous situation, they aren't going to cite you for technical violations. See my example of a 14yo on a 16+ machine. Riding like you have some sense, no issue. Riding wheelies, you're going to have a problem.

Also, and this is very important. These rules are not just rules. They are codified in the state code. So don't let anyone tell you they are just rules. They are actually laws.


The Outlaw Trails

Also known as "local" trails. These are simply trails that are not part of HM. But prior to 2001, all trails were local trails. Many are old county roads that are unmaintained while some are old logging roads. A few are actually on property owned by individuals.

So are they legal to ride? In a nutshell, Yes. No matter what Trevor from New Jersey wants to tell you on the FB pages.

WV has unique property laws. Basically for any non-agricultural property over 5 acres, it is the property owner's duty to post it if they don't want people on it. Property can be posted in a couple of ways. The familiar yellow No Trespassing signs or Purple Paint on the trees. Or a gate.

So use some sense. Don't go on posted property, don't go around locked gates and if someone asks you to leave, apologize and leave. Most land is owned by large land companies who don't care if we ride their property as long as we obey the rules. And under no circumstances go into an active mining area.


Road Riding

This is always a question so here is the deal. While WV does license SXS/ATV's for street legal use, the 5 main counties that make up the HM trail system have basically opened their roads to trail riders. Which means that yes, you can ride the roads. But there are a couple of caveats.

1) Got wear a helmet, even in a SXS. The reason is that because the counties opened up their roads based on the Rules of the HM Trail System, so you have to follow those rules, which include wearing a helmet.

2) Stay off the 4-lane. Now I know people ride down US-119 to get from a couple of campgrounds near Ivy Branch and the cops basically allow people to get to the Go-Mart for gas in Sophia, but these are pretty much the only 2 exceptions. And even in these cases, you need to stay on the shoulder and out of the live lanes. And there is plenty of room on the shoulder.

3) Riding US-52 is allowed, but for the areas where there is a gravel trail right beside it, use the gravel trail

4) Some municipalities have hour limits. I think Bramwell is 9pm and a couple others have them as well. So if you ride the roads after hours, you might get a ticket. If you are coming in late because you broke down or something, call the Police Department and let them know. Also, riders are guests in these communities, but people live there. So don't blast your stereo or rev the engine. We don't want to lose our privileged of riding in the towns.

5) Finally, if you act like you have some sense, the police will leave you alone. Act like a fool and they may not. Also, if a vehicle comes up behind you, pull over and let them pass.
 

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I’m going to be staying in Bramwell. Any recommendations on must see places? Do’s and don’ts.
If anyone has any guides they would recommend in the area it would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Corner diner in bramwell is a must, buffalo trails restaurant is great, the Mexican restaurant in pineville has a wood burning pizza oven, great eating.
Make sure you ride the connector trail, beautiful trail, crumpler rd nice to ride if it's dusty, tunnels are neat,.
Coal country tours is a good trail guide but pretty expensive, tarheel trailblazer has a face book page, he rides a wolverine, he does some guiding on the side, he's pretty reasonable..
I have rode with them both, great people
 

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Thanks for the info P.T.
I think we’re actually staying in a place right by the corner store.
This will be our first time at H.M.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I’m going to be staying in Bramwell. Any recommendations on must see places? Do’s and don’ts.
If anyone has any guides they would recommend in the area it would be greatly appreciated.
I agree with @P.T, get a guide if you can. There is so many things off the main HM trails that you need a guide to 1) know where they are and 2) know what is open and closed.

Yes Corner Shop for sure and Wrong Turn Pizza is good but is only open Fir-Sat this time of the year. If you do make it up to Pineville, Jose Ole is the Mexican place that serves brick oven pizza. If you make it over to Mullens, the Rebel Smokehouse is great. Check hours for anywhere you want to eat as some are closed weird days.

If you have machine trouble or break something, Ziggy's is who you want to call. He carries a lot of parts and does good work at a reasonable price.


We going to northern trails in 2 weeks, only 2nd time to them, don't know much about them
I am a lot more familiar with the northern trails than the southern ones, even though I have ridden them all.

Where are you staying? Leo New or Wes Wilson do tours out of Williamson. Leo's are a bit more historic in that he takes you some of the Matewan Massacre and HM feud sites. If you get Wes, see if he will take you to the Dingess Tunnel.

In Williamson, make sure you eat at Starter's. Great cheese fries and awesome ranch dressing. In Matewan, eat at Wingo's, in Man at Keith's Bar & Grill and in Gilbert, at Trail 12 BBQ. All great eats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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Just got home from our HM trip had a great time as usual rode Buffalo Mountain on Saturday and Rock House on Friday. Had one issue with my Buddies Wife machine one of the coolant line got a hole rubbed through it. As it turns out I had a small section in my bag of tricks, cleaned it up put some duct tape around it split the piece of hose I had and put around the bad spot added 3 hose clamps and rode it out the last 8-9 miles….
Wheel Tire Vehicle Plant Car

Natural landscape Branch Wood Twig Tree

Cloud Tire Sky Wheel Vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just got home from our HM trip had a great time as usual rode Buffalo Mountain on Saturday and Rock House on Friday. Had one issue with my Buddies Wife machine one of the coolant line got a hole rubbed through it. As it turns out I had a small section in my bag of tricks, cleaned it up put some duct tape around it split the piece of hose I had and put around the bad spot added 3 hose clamps and rode it out the last 8-9 miles….
Had that happen to me at Windrock. We had just left the prison when my temp spiked. A hole had rubbed where the dealer had zip tied the hose after the heater install. Wrapped some heavy duty electrical tape around it, headed back to the prison for more water, filled the radiator and made it back to the trailhead. That area now has a piece of hose protecting the actual hose.

Glad you had a great time.
 
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