Hawks Ridge Loop

  • Highlights: Mountain views, meadows, red spruce forest
  • Distance: 2.7 mile loop
  • Elevation Change 288 feet
  • Trail Surface: Dirt with some rocky sections
  • Difficulty Level: Easy/moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Monongahela National Forest, Mower Basin Trail parking area, Forest Road 227
  • Trail Markings: blue blazes and signs
  • Website: AllTrails and US Forest Service
  • Beer Pairings: Old Spruce Brewing—Happy Trails IPA & Scotch Ale

Trail Map:

The Hike:

This hike passes through a small part of the 40,000 acres of Cheat Mountain which joined the Monongahela National Forest in the 1980s. Before being rescued by the Forest service, logging companies cut down most of the trees and strip mines devastated the landscape. The high, wide-open landscape has been nicknamed “Mine-tana.” 

While the scars of strip mining are still visible, the area has rebounded under the care of the Forest Service. The Mower Basin is now home to six trails with plans to expand the trail system in the future. The trail is well marked and well maintained. From the parking area, follow the blue-blazed Hawks Ridge trail through a meadow of wildflowers before reaching a junction at .2 miles. 

This part of the trail is a loop so either direction returns to this point. We opted to bear left hiking clockwise. The Cheat Wildlife Management Area opens up with some nice views of Cheat Mountain and Crouch Knob to the west. The trail soon enters a dense spruce forest.

The trail leaves the forest just long enough for some nice views to the north where Barton Knob dominates the landscape. The trail winds back through the spruce forest. Moss and ferns line the forest floor as the trail follows the path of an old forest road. The trail soon emerges from the forest at the junction of the trail loop. Bear left here to return to the parking area.  

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Old Spruce Brewing https://oldsprucetavern.com/ in Snowshoe WV is located about 45 miles from the trailhead. They have 12 taps of craft beer, a variety of pub-style food options, and indoor and outdoor seating with great mountain views.

Kathy enjoyed a cold pint of Happy Trails IPA (5.5% ABV), a west-coast IPA with a great copper color with citrus and pine notes. Pete really liked Scotch Ale (7.5% ABV) with notes of Rye, Raisin, and Molasses.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.