About the Basin: Nathaniel Mountain Wildlife Management Area

Nathaniel Mountain Wildlife Management Area

July 8, 2022

Romney, West Virginia

A wildlife management area (WMA) is land owned by the state that is designed to conserve and manage high quality wildlife habitat. Public access is allowed and encouraged, but the amenities at WMAs tend to be more rustic than your typical state park. Nathaniel Mountain Wildlife Management Area is no exception. The roads can be rutted, and the camp sites are primitive, but a trip to Nathaniel Mountain WMA will reward you with the opulent sights and sounds of the wild.

A river with forested mountains on each side. Mill Run at Nathaniel Mountain WMA.

Photo credit: WVTourism.com

The mountain range, comprised of Big, Piney, and Nathaniel mountains, is the native home to the people of the Massawomeck and Shawandasse Tula tribes. It crosses Hardy and Hampshire counties, just south of Romney, West Virginia.

As the largest, and considered the most important, WMA in the state, the land provides vital habitat for squirrels, foxes, deer, bobcats, bears and many other species. Hunting, trapping, and fishing are popular activities on the 10,675-acre property.

Mill Run, a tributary to the South Branch Potomac River, is one of the larger streams within the WMA and is a popular fishing spot.

There are hiking trails throughout the area, but they may not be well-marked so have a map handy for navigation. For the 4.5-mile (roundtrip) hike to the historic fire tower, park at the base of Mill Run Road. Built in 1939, the watch tower provides an impressive piece of firefighting history (climbing the tower is not permitted).

Grab one of the 75 primitive camping sites (with pit toilets) for a fully immersive experience in nature.

For hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting, the Nathaniel Mountain Wildlife Management Area is the embodiment of West Virginia state’s motto, Wild and Wonderful.