By Kristen Beverage-Doss
Gear-up for skiing in the Monongahela National Forest.
A hidden treasure of the Monongahela National Forest is the recently groomed, Elk Mountain Cross Country Ski Trails.
The trails are located across from the Elk Mountain parking area just off Rt. 219 toward the Scenic Highway.
On average, Pocahontas County receives approximately 100 inches of snow each year, making it an ideal cross country ski area.
“The forest has a completely different feel in the winter,” Rec Tech Seth Halman said. “Exploring your favorite places on skis really changes the experience.”
Elk Mountain Cross Country Ski trails consist of four trail loops that total 1.5 miles. The trails range in difficulty and are suitable for both beginner and intermediate level skiers.
District staff spent several days earlier in the year weed eating, cutting back vegetation and removing roots to ensure the trail would be ideal for skiers. Along the trail loop is a cozy warming shelter to take a break from the chilly weather. The warming shelter is fully equipped with a wood stove and firewood.
“Very few people know about this trail loop,” Seth said. “We are hoping more people get to enjoy such a well-maintained spot.”
In the off season the trails are also great for mountain bikers and hikers.
So, next time you are traveling along Rt. 219, take a moment to enjoy this hidden mountain treasure.
Great things are happening in the forest.
Until next time – get outside and enjoy your public lands!