The 47,815 acre Cranberry Wilderness is located in Pocahontas and Webster Counties, West Virginia. Broad mountains are dissected by deep and narrow valleys with elevations ranging from 2,400 feet to more than 4,600 feet in Cranberry Wilderness, the largest Forest Service Wilderness Area in the eastern United States. Here on the Allegheny Plateau, the Wilderness contains the entire drainage of the Middle Fork of the Williams River and the North Fork of the Cranberry River. The Williams River forms the northern Wilderness boundary, and the South Fork of the Cranberry River marks the southwestern boundary. You'll find primarily Appalachian hardwoods, but there are also stands of red spruce at the highest elevations. Cranberry Wilderness is contained within the Black Bear Sanctuary. Black bears are abundant and share the Wilderness with white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, grouse, rabbits, mink, bobcats, and foxes. Naturally acidic water limits the fish populations, and the streams are not stocked. Frost may occur any month of the year. Precipitation (rain or snow) falls in winter, spring, and fall. Winter snow may block road access. More than 70 miles of maintained hiking trails provide access to the area. Trails follow both the rivers. The Middle Fork Trail runs for 9 miles, and the North Fork Trail for 7.5 miles. There are no trails maintained for horses and no bridges over streams. Take caution fording streams during high water.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Cranberry Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
(No official title, designates various West Virginia wildernesses) - Public law 97-466 (1/13/1983) To designate certain lands in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia, as wilderness; and to designate management of certain lands for uses other than wilderness
(No official title, authorizes Department of Interior appropriations for FY91) - Public law 101-512 (11/5/1990) Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1991, and for other purposes.
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.