Explore the Mononghela National Forest May 20-21

Join us for the Best of Birthplace of Rivers Weekend, May 20-21, 2017 in Slatyfork, WV!

Explore some of the best West Virginia’s public lands have to offer during WV Rivers’ Best of Birthplace weekend in Monongahela National Forest!

This weekend is designed to get you outside enjoying and learning about public lands! Families are welcome.


Space is limited, so make sure you register for the Best of Birthplace of Rivers Weekend soon!

Adult registration is $20/adult and youth registration is $5/child under 15 years old. Registration includes Saturday dinner, Sunday lunch, and all programming. Saturday lodging and Sunday breakfast are not provided.

Register for the Best of Birthplace of Rivers Weekend here. We’ll follow-up after you register with more information.

Weekend Schedule:

Saturday, May 20 
2:00pm – Registration and welcome at the Elk River Inn, our base camp for the weekend.
2:45 – 6:00 – Interpretive programs. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in all of them!

Interpretative Programs

Spring Walk and Talk. Take a stroll along the Elk River Inn grounds and learn about the unique hydrology of the region. This headwater springs walk will offer a glimpse into our source water as it rises from the Karst topography and becomes part of the Elk River — the drinking water supply for so many West Virginians!

Stream Investigation. Learn about the critters that call the streams of the Birthplace of Rivers home and what they can teach us about water quality.

Bats. Learn about bats, nature’s best mosquito control, with National Forest District Ranger Cindy Sandeno.

Bears. Join Watoga State Park naturalist Chris Bartley for a fun interactive program on some of the National Forest’s most beloved mammals.

6:00 – Buffet BBQ Dinner 
6:50 – After dinner program on public lands and how you can get involved protecting them. Door prize drawing.
7:30 – Saturday programming wraps-up. Night-owls, once the sun sets, we’ll gather around a campfire for music and storytelling.

Sunday, May 21
9:30am – Attendees gather back at the Elk River Inn and depart for one of four guided field trips into the Southern Monongahela National Forest. Unless noted, all supplies, gear, shuttle to and from the field trip, and a bagged lunch are provided. Field trips will return to the Elk River Inn around 3-4:00pm and participents will depart.

Hiking: Explore the Highland Scenic Highway. Stops include the Falls of Hills Creek (2mi RT with 250’ elevation gain & 382 steps) and Red Spruce Knob (2.5mi RT with 380’ elevation gain), the highest point in the Birthplace of Rivers. Participants will also explore most of the Highland Scenic Highway, including stops at roadside streams and a chance to fill your bottle with fresh spring water. Participants should prepare for moderate to challenging hiking.  

The Cranberry Glades and Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. Participants will explore the bogs and meadows that make up the unique Cranberry Glades. The outing will include a stop along the Highland Scenic Highway to gather fresh spring water, a guided tour of the Cranberry Glades and a live snake show at the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. Participants will hike 1-mile with minimal elevation gain. This is the easiest hiking option.

Bike Along the Scenic Williams River. This is a beginner friendly out-and-back bike trip along a paved road which follows the Williams River and the northern boundary of the Cranberry Wilderness. Sights along the way include tumbling streams, the Three Forks of the Williams, and a number of great places to enjoy lunch or fishing (with a license). Distance is variable, but the elevation gain is on the return trip. Light car traffic is possible.

Note: Youth bikes are not provided. Participants are welcome to bring their own bike.

Elk River Fly Fishing Clinic. Mid May is the most active time to experience large mayfly hatches on the Elk River headwaters. Water temps rise and tasty bugs are plentiful. Beginners and advanced anglers alike will enjoy fishing along the renown Elk River. The clinic will begin with casting practice for beginners and folks liking to improve their cast before moving into the River.

Note: A valid fishing license with a trout stamp is required for all participents 15 and older. Residents under 15 years of age, when accompanied by licensed adult, do not require a license. Fishing licenses must be purchased prior to the Best of Birthplace weekend, learn more and purchase your license here. Youth waders are not provided. Participants are welcome to bring their own gear.



Saturday lodging and Sunday breakfast are NOT provided, please plan accordingly. Lodging is available at the Elk River Inn. Learn more about camping and alternative lodging here. If you plan on camping, you’ll want to arrive to the area early to set-up camp before the Best of Birthplace of Rivers Weekend begins. Looking for a camping recommendation? Try the Tea Creek Campground, it’s located about 30 minutes from the Elk River Inn.
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