Take in the View at Coopers Rock Overlook

Coopers Rock Overlook

Take in stunning 360-degree views of the Cheat River Canyon from the historic Coopers Rock Overlook

The Coopers Rock Overlook is the crown jewel of Coopers Rock State Forest. The name is derived from a legend about a fugitive who hid near the overlook to elude capture. He was a cooper by trade and continued to make and sell barrels to the local communities to support himself while living in the woods. The overlook and the surrounding area was developed through the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1936-1942. Today, the overlook and several other structures within the forest, including the Superintendent's House and Garage, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Getting to the overlook is relatively easy to find as there is only one road in and out of the state forest. The road will dead end into the first gravel parking lot which is the larger of the two. The second parking lot is smaller but does contain a few handicap parking spaces. Follow any of the smooth-stone walkways, past the picnic shelters, to reach the overlook. For those who need handicap assistance or may find the stone difficult to navigate, there is a flat small-gravel path that begins on the left when facing the Overlook Trading Post which is located at the far end of the second parking lot.

The stunning 360-degree views are the main attraction of Coopers Rock Overlook. It has become a popular spot for professional, family, and aerial photographers as well as a few predatory bird watchers. The views are amazing during any season but are particularly stunning during the fall foliage change from roughly September to November. WV State Parks provides fall foliage maps to help you plan your visit during the peak of the color change. The overlook also has several coin-operated tower viewers (cost 25 cents) to help visitors navigate the expansive views. The viewfinders help to locate the city of Morgantown, Snake Hill Wildlife Management Area, and Ravens Rock Overlook.

Coopers Rock Overlook is not only popular because of the amazing views but also for the rock climbing opportunities! The Coopers Rock Foundation, a non-profit supporting conservation in Coopers Rock State Forest, provides a great article describing various rock climbing routes around the overlook and throughout the rest of the state forest.

In addition to the Coopers Rock Overlook, the area also hosts several other amenities nearby. There are restroom facilities, a playground, charcoal barbeque stands, picnic tables, the Overlook Trading post (gift shop), the Eagle Grill, and often a sculpture made from natural materials found in the forest. Past sculptures have been of a bear and turtle. When the original begins to decay and decompose, a new one is erected in its place! The most popular amenity near the Coopers Rock Overlook are the picnic shelters, especially for weddings, graduation parties, and family reunions. They can be reserved by calling the forest office at 304-594-1561 and rates can be found online here.

Unfortunately, Coopers Rock State Forest does close in the winter time but it doesn’t mean the Coopers Rock Overlook is inaccessible! There is a parking lot that sits outside of the entrance gate on the right. From that parking lot, you can take the 3-mile out and back Roadside Trail, so named because it parallels the road in and out of the forest.

Hunting is allowed in Coopers Rock State Forest so it is highly recommended to wear blaze orange during hunting seasons. The area surrounding Coopers Rock Overlook is within the no hunting zone.

Dogs are happily welcomed but must be leashed at all times.

The weather within Coopers Rock State Forest and at the Coopers Rock Overlook is about 10 degrees cooler than the temperature recorded in Morgantown, WV. Dress appropriately for the season. 

Pack List

  • Trail/forest map
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Hat 
  • Sunscreen
  • Jacket (light or heavy depending on the season)
  • Small change + coins (for viewing towers)
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RT Distance 0 Miles
Elevation Gain 0 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Beautiful

View was stunning

A Must-stop From Morgantown

I always make a stop here when I'm Morgantown or driving past. It's a quick stop off the freeway and I promise the view is worth it. Lots of beautiful trails around the area as well. Pro tip, check out Snake Hill Wildlife Management Area across the Cheat River for an AMAZING sunrise view and a much quieter experience. Do your research ahead of time as I don't believe any of the trails are labeled.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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