In 2009, Congress designated a little more than 5,000 acres of West Virginia as the Big Draft Wilderness. This area is located in southeast West Virginia and is a part of the Monongahela National Forest. Big Draft comprises most of the southern part of the forest and the name comes from one of the Greenbrier River tributaries, Big Draft. The wilderness area is about five miles from White Sulfur Springs and near the Blue Bend Recreation Area.
The Big Draft is popular with hunters, hikers, anglers, and paddlers. There is a 14-mile trail system which is open to the public, including equestrians and hikers. The only exception is Blue Bend Loop which prohibits horses or any type of stock.
Wildlife is abundant in the area and includes black bear, wild turkey, whitetail deal, cottontail rabbit, grouse, and coyote.
The Big Draft was created under the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. This is the smallest of the national wilderness areas in West Virginia. While not as well known as some of the other wilderness areas, it is very accessible for hikers.
The area contains just a few loops. The wilderness is accessed from Blue Bend Recreation Area. This is a great starting point because the recreation area includes 20 nice camp sites located on Anthony Creek. There is also a pavilion constructed by the CCC, warm showers and flush toilets. There is no fee to park and there are signs to the footbridge which spans Anthony Creek and takes hikers into the wilderness area. The early trails are easy to follow, although they are not well marked.
There are nice overlooks along the trails and the summit sits at about 1,000 feet in elevation. The trails are well-maintained and can get steep along the way.
Big Draft Wilderness Area is the newest wilderness area in West Virgina (not in Tennessee). Still, it offers nice trails and scenic views and is worth a visit.