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U.S. Forest Service

Eastern Region Viewing Area


grass pink orchid. Grass Pink Orchid (Calopogon tuberosus). Photo by B. Eugene Wofford, University Tennessee Herbarium.

greater purple fringed orchid. Greater Purple Fringed Orchid (Platanthera grandiflora). Photo by Dick Sooy, University Tennessee Herbarium.

Cranberry Glades Botanical Area

Forest: Monongahela National Forest

District: Gauley Ranger District

Description: The Cranberry Glades Botanical Area protects the largest area of bogs in West Virginia. Bogs are acidic wetlands more commonly found in the northern areas of this country and in Canada. The ground in a bog is spongy and consists largely of partially-decayed plant material known as peat. Because of its unique conditions, some unusual plants grow in bogs, including carnivorous or insect-eating plants. The Botanical Area encompasses 750 acres.

The Cranberry Glades consists of four bogs whose plant and animal life is similar to that found in the bogs or "muskegs" of the north where bogs are found in glaciated landscapes while the glaciers did not make it this far south. This life spread southward with the changing climatic conditions that allowed glaciers to creep across the northern part of our continent. Several species ended their migration here, and the Cranberry Glades are now the southern-most point in North America where some of these life forms are found.

Please treat the Cranberry Glades with care! A half-mile boardwalk has been constructed through two of the bogs so you can enjoy the area without disturbing this fragile community. Help protect these bogs and stay on the boardwalk, and leave the flowers for others to enjoy. Remember...many of these unique plants are descended from seeds that took root here over 10,000 years ago! With your help, they will continue to live here, making Cranberry Glades a special place to visit for a long time to come!

The boardwalk for this area is wheelchair accessible.

Guided tours are conducted at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer months or can be specially arranged by contacting the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center.

Directions: Access to the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area is from Route 39/150 just north of the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. From Route 150 take Forest Service Road 102 north approximately one mile.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Monongahela National Forest, Gauley Ranger District. Additional information is available during the summer months at the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center at (304)653-4826 and during the winter months at the Gauley Ranger District at (304)846-2695.

Closest Town: Richwood, West Virginia.