See the Wirt County Portion of the Hughes River WMA
The Hughes River Wildlife Management Area covers 10,000 acres across Ritchie and Wirt counties. A quick glance at the WVDNR map for this piece of public land suggests about two-thirds of this acreage is south of Route 47 in Wirt County.
This part of the WMA rises out of the Hughes River drainage to a network of interconnected ridges several hundred vertical feet above it, and has a really big, remote feel. It is bisected east to west by CR 10, and has Newark Road (CR 6) and Flint Run Road (CR 8) as roughly its western and eastern boundaries, respectively.
Note that CR 8 at its northern terminus intersects Route 47 by crossing the Hughes River at a WVDNR stream access area, but not by bridge (or even low-water bridge). High-clearance 4WD vehicles do cross here during times of relatively low flow, but it is not recommended. During our first visit to this spot, we saw a 4-door compact that had attempted this crossing only to have floated about 100 yards downstream to snag on a sand bar, with the water level above its windows. Local children drifting about in car-tire inner tubes seemed to have found it a convenient docking point.
From these county roads it is possible to enter the heart of the Hughes River WMA from multiple access points on rough public roads and a vast network of logging and oil/gas roads. These can lead to deep, narrow valleys, high ridges, and at times absolutely stunning views that extend for miles.
A person sticking to the rough roads on a mountain bike could spend days exploring this place; on foot, there are weeks and weeks of available areas to visit. While the o!Pam mapping team has been there, we have seen few people and the sense of solitude felt has been strong.
As we continue to explore the Hughes River WMA, we will update you further on paricularly interesting routes/areas there. Ones that have already shown promise are the roads in the Silver Run, Grieves Run, and Cave Run areas in the western portion of the WMA. They are mountainous, scenic, and offer promises of great hiking or mountain biking.
We'll be back with more, but there's no need to wait. Maps are free at WVDNR offices in the region, and now is a great time of the year to immerse yourself in a piece of public land that not many area outdoor enthusiasts are aware even exists, and that even fewer have visited. As there are no services in this WMA, come prepared and don't forget a camera, either.