While international travel continues to gain traction, there are still many Americans opting for US travel for a domestic experience, whether it be cross-country or just the “next state over”. Being one of those travelers, I recently made my way back to the beautiful Mountain State for four days in Logan County, West Virginia in partnership with WV Tourism!
Located in the southern region of the state, the city of Logan and the surrounding towns feature some of the most unique natural landscapes, restaurants with Appalachian cuisine, and the secondt longest ATV trail system in the world.
See below for my full, 4-day Logan County, West Virginia itinerary to plan your own West Virginia adventure — it’s #AlmostHeaven!
Getting There: Driving Northeast from Kentucky, follow I-64 East through Louisville and Ashland, Kentucky for the majority of the trip. Download Google maps prior to hitting the road to prepare for the no-service zones. Drive time from Northwest Kentucky from start to finish is 6 hours.
Arriving at Chief Logan State Park Lodge
We arrive in Logan and make our way to Chief Logan State Park — one of the most visited parks in West Virginia. Directly in the center of it all, sits Chief Logan State Park Lodge, a popular, no-fuss, mountain style lodge that features 75 modern rooms and suites, a full-service restaurant, guest laundry, WiFi, an indoor pool, fitness room and hot tub.After settling into our room, we met up with Debrina, the Executive Director of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce and Hatfield McCoy Convention and Visitors Bureau (and our local guide) for the weekend.
We know we are in for a treat when she tells us our first stop is Four Seasons Country Store — a roadside country store that changes its decor with the seasons! Selling homemade dessert and sandwiches at their indoor deli counter, Four Seasons also hosts a number of outdoor seasonal events like a Festival with horse + buggy rides and pumpkin carving.
Splitting Wood at McCoy Trail House
A brand new concept by Courtney McCoy and her partner, the newly opened venue of the McCoy Devil Axe Trail House is our next stop. The space, which just opened in mid-October, includes the McCoy Station Bar with Appalachian Cuisine, and multiple axe throwing stations positioned much like lanes in a bowling alley.
We were first given a safety briefing on how to properly throw the axe, and took our hands at slicing wood — literally!
At a later date, an upstairs bar and event center will open to host wedding receptions, birthdays, and other mid-sized events.
While the menu may occasionally change, Appalachian cuisine featured at McCoy Station include but are not limited to pinto beans, fresh cornbread, chicken salad, and homemade fudge. Many ingredients used to make the food are created using produce and products found around the immediate region (Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia).
After a hearty home cooked Appalachian meal and a full hour of axe throwing, we made our way to Chirico’s Ristorante, a family-owned Italian restaurant with deep roots in Logan County.
Italian Treats at Chirico’s Ristorante
What began in 1981 by Frank Ray Chirico has become a local staple within the town’s culinary scene. Here, we sample some of Chirico’s most popular dishes including the Calabrian Sampler, the Cheeseburger Calzone, and a brick oven pizza.
The main attraction at Chirico’s, however, is the prized Butter Brickle dessert. A layered pie-like treat, it contains small, crunchy pieces of golden-browned toffee and is topped with a buttery caramel sauce. It can’t be missed on a trip to Logan!
With our stomachs full, we head back to Chief Logan Lodge to rest up for another full day of exploring.
Breakfast at Nu Era Bakery
Well-rested and ready for a full day of adventure, we make our way back downtown for our first stop of the day: a locally owned sweet spot called Nu Era Bakery.
Owner Missy Fannin greets us with a sweet smile and a hot cup of coffee while we admire rows of intricately decorated cupcakes, seasonal cakes, and doughnuts.
After learning about the bakery’s deep Italian roots dating back to 1940, we sample some of the most popular baked goods including fresh bread, sweet corn cream horns and apple turnovers. I even tried my hand at cake decorating with the Nu Era team behind the counter (and I’ll be the first to say I should stick to writing).
Riding the Hatfield McCoy ATV Trails
To burn off the sugar rush, we make our way downtown towards the town of Man, West Virginia. In this remote mountain town lies one of the region’s main attractions — the Hatfield McCoy ATV Trail System, which was created in October 2000.
While the entire system itself boasts more than 1000 miles of thrill-seeking trails, on this day, the Rockhouse Trail system waits for our tires to hit the mud.
We meet Chris Zeto, the Director of Marketing for the Hatfield McCoy Trail System, and take off on the trail with a local trail expert behind the wheel.
Hitting the Trails
Winding down roads once owned by mining companies, we stop at a few of the trails most iconic spots for scenic views, waterfalls, and handshakes and quick conversation with other riders. We stop at the ATV Trestle bridge to wave to passersby and get a few photo opps.
We soon discover that riders come from all over — near and far. Some even decking their ATV’s out with lights and sound systems to enhance the experience. In fact, the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system attracts more than 56,000 off-road trail riders into the area each year.
Following an hour of excitement, we make a detour and head towards lunch at one of the trails’ most popular “pit” stops.
Known for some of the best hickory smoked barbecue in the region (and epic mountain views), Trail 12 BBQ sits right off Rockhouse Trailhead at the Twin Hollow Campground & Cabins.
We order the barbecue plates of all barbecue plates:
- An “Almost Heaven” burger with a half-pound smoked burger patty, smoked bologna, and pulled pork; and
- The “Trail Rider Nachos” with a mountain of pulled pork, sour cream, tomatoes, and cheese sauce.
We of course couldn’t complete the meal without homemade Kentucky Bourbon Bread Pudding and vanilla ice cream.
Disclaimer: All drivers on the trail need to have a valid government issued driver’s license and purchase a riding permit prior to riding the trails. Find more information on acquiring a trail permit here.
Sippin’ Shine at the Hatfield McCoy Moonshine Distillery
After dusting off the mud and letting our food settle, we drove up the road to wet our whistles at the Hatfield McCoy Moonshine Distillery where we met owner Chad Bishop for a tasting.
Using a family recipe dating back generations, Chad and his team have created something special in this premium white corn whiskey known as the “Drink of the Devil”. In fact, it’s the very first authentic mountain moonshine ever legally produced by the Hatfields and McCoys.
With more than a handful of flavors to choose from, there’s a moonshine for everyone (of legal drinking age, of course).
Pro tip: Try all of the flavors (and the bourbon), but don’t leave without a bottle of the Cinnamon.
Dinner at The Broken Axle
At dinner time, we make our way to the Old Rita Mall at Lyburn for grub at a relatively new concept through a development project known as the Appalachian Outpost.
What was formerly the location of a shoe store is now known as The Broken Axle, a local favorite serving more than 20 tap beers, elevated bar bites, and vegan dishes.
Owners Leah Vance and Fuji Williams broke the mold on the restaurant in 2020, naming it after their young son, Aksel.
We order a glass of local blackberry wine, the Grilled Cheese Platter, Chicken + Pineapple Skewers, and a Falafel Bowl.
Pro tip: Don’t leave without ordering a craft beer and an order of Pepperoni Rolls which are very popular throughout the region! Guests can also book the two-lane axe throwing room in the back for small get togethers. The Broken Axel is especially busy on weekends, so call ahead to reserve.
River Adventures with Hatfield McCoy Airboat Tours
We enjoy a leisurely breakfast of pumpkin pancakes and mingle with local leaders at the local Kiwanis Pancake Day to kick things off.
We’re even graced with the presence of America’s Got Talent Season 6 Winner, and Logan native, Landau Murphy, Jr.!
On this day we are in for a rare treat as we take off due southwest to the town of Matewan. Sitting on the borderline of Kentucky and West Virginia, the quaint town of Matewan is home to less than 500 people, but has no shortage of history.
In addition to its fame thanks in part to the Matewan Massacre of 1920, it’s also famous for another interesting reason: a local business man named Keith Gibson.
Keith is the owner of Hatfield & McCoy Airboat Tours, featuring an airboat equipped with a supercharged 550-horsepower engine to take thrill seekers up and down the waters of the Tug Fork River.
The idea for the airboat tours arose after Kevin Costner’s “Hatfields & McCoys” miniseries aired on The History Channel in 2012, putting Matewan in the nation’s eye.
Rollin’ on the River
During our hour long excursion, Keith flew us over the Tug Fork River with grace and ease. While sharing stories from centuries passed, historical locations infamous in the Hatfield-McCoy family feud lie waiting for us to discover.
Rides are offered Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Riders can arrange tours by appointment on Sunday afternoons and Mondays. Keith encourages groups of three or more, while the boat carries a maximum of six passengers per tour.
Pro Tip: If visiting Matewan in late summer and early fall, book a ride first thing in the morning, then sip a coffee at the adorable 50’s themed cafe, Chit and Chat Coffee.
Exploring Matewan, West Virginia:
Consider these other activities during a day trip to Matewan:
- Tour the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum
- Take a peek inside the Matewan Depot Replica and Welcome Center
- Grab some wings and BBQ ribs from Wingo’s
Exploring the Trails at Chief Logan State Park
For our last full day in Logan County, we wake up early to enjoy a full breakfast at Chief Logan Lodge before hitting some of the more moderate-in-level trails in the park.
Breakfast is simple but filling, consisting of fried egg, biscuits and sausage gravy, granola, and apple juice (with a side of nature)!
Chief Logan spans more than 3,988 acres, providing dozens of hiking trails for all skill levels. In addition to trails, the park is also home to conference facilities, an archery range, and an annual “Christmas in the Park” drive-thru holiday light display.
On this day, we explore the Shawnee Trail — a heavily wooded but easy hike just behind the amphitheater. The Lake Shore Trail further up tis a close second as it’s slightly larger and provides unique views and a more challenging hike.
Check out this view from a look out point just off the side of the road! There is no shortage of beauty in Chief Logan.
Pro Tip: Before taking to the trails, check local weather and trail conditions with park rangers (they will advise against certain trails depending on the elements). Hikers can also use AllTrails to get a more accurate sense of real time conditions.
Local Fine-Dining at 317 Steakhouse
We load up the van and change out of our hiking attire into more fitting clothes for fancier surroundings.
Our last meal is a special one at one of Logan’s most sought after dinner locales: 317 Steakhouse.
Upon entering, it’s easy to see that it’s a popular spot for anniversary dinners, date nights, and birthdays.
The menu is a vast array of selections, some unique for a steakhouse, including dishes like egg rolls and Cajun Shrimp.
We settle on a Wedge Salad with ranch, a bowl of Onion soup, the Chicken and Shrimp Alfredo, and the 10 oz Salmon with raspberry fig sauce.
To end the meal, we each get a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and toast to an amazing trip before heading back to Chief Logan Lodge for a full night’s rest before returning home.
Know Before You Go
If you are planning your own late-fall adventure to Logan County, West Virginia no matter where you may be coming from, plan to spend at least two nights there.
From lush green forests and adventurous ATV trails, to mountain hospitality and home cooked Appalachian food, you’ll want to factor in enough time to see and do all the amazing things Logan County has to offer!
Make sure to pack comfortable travel clothes such as jeans, hoodies, tee shirts, leggings, and plenty of clean socks. Closed-toe shoes are also a necessity for hiking rocky and muddy terrain. If you plan on dining out at one of the many restaurants mentioned in this post, bring clean slacks and a button up or a casual dress to wear.
Logan County Favorites
Below are my favorite Logan County activities that are perfect for families, couples, and solo travelers alike:
- The Hatfield McCoy ATV Trails (must have permit and valid driver’s license)
- Hatfield McCoy Airboat Tours (family friendly, great for kids)
- Hiking Trails and Nature Seeing at Chief Logan State Park (there is a large locomotive train model and playgrounds for children, hiking and biking for adults)
- Trail 12 BBQ (kid friendly options like hot dogs and chicken tenders; beer and life-size sandwiches and ribs for adults
Logan County is also easily accessible from a number of surrounding states, making a long weekend road trip very convenient.
If you live in parts of Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, or Pennsylvania, an experience in Logan County, West Virginia is just a drive away.
Learn about the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud, take part in unique local shopping, and discover off-the-beaten path natural beauty at every turn (and there are a lot of turns!)
Discover for yourself why West Virginia really is #AlmostHeaven.
Want to learn more about my travels in West Virginia? Read my full guide to 72 Hours in Mountaineer Country, West Virginia here!