Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
Description: Cranberry Glades is one of the most unique areas in West Virginia. Life in its four bogs, or acidic wetlands, resembles life more characteristic of the northern United States and Canada than the Appalachians, and for several of the species found in the glades, it is their southernmost range. The 750-acre botanical area, part of the Monongahela National Forest, is home to dozens of interesting species of plants, including orchids and carnivorous plants, such as the sundew . The bog forest here is composed of red spruce, hemlock, and yellow birch.
Viewing Information: Bog ground is spongy peat, partially decayed plant material, covered by sphagnum moss. Please stay on the trail and boardwalks to protect this delicate ecosystem. Start your visit by strolling the boardwalk trail. White-tailed deer are present year-round. Cranberry Glades is the southern-most breeding range for many typically northern breeding species like the purple finch and the northern waterthrush . Scan the water's edge for the waterthrush . April to July is excellent for viewing other breeding birds as well. Black bears have been seen in the skunk cabbage along the boardwalk. Hike the 6-mile Cow Pasture Trail to observe the extensive beaver ponds and alder thickets. Beavers are usually not active during the day, so the best chances of seeing, or more likely hearing one is in the evening.
Directions: From Marlinton , travel south on U.S. Highway 219. At Mill Point, turn right onto West Virginia State Route 55 and travel west on WV 55 for 6.4 miles to Cranberry Mountain Visitors Center on the left. Continue west on WV 55 for 0.6 mile, then turn right onto Forest Road 102 and travel 1.4 miles to the botanical area parking.
Ownership: USDA Forest Service, Monongahela National Forest; contact Gauley Ranger District (304) 846-2695, or Cranberry Mountain Nature Center (304) 653-4826
Size: 750 acres
Closest Town: Marlinton
--Excerpt from the WV Wildlife Viewing Guide by Mark Damian Duda . Available from the WVDNR.