A short, paved path, the Spotted Salamander Trail was built to accommodate people with visual and physical impairments. It is wheelchair accessible, and features guide posts and ropes along the edge for the blind as well as interpretive nature stations with braille.
The renovations completed in 2016 include a paved parking area, asphalt trail repairs, new guide posts and ropes, safety fencing and a shelter with a ramp and a wheelchair-accessible picnic table.
Volunteers played a major role in the upgrades. In keeping with that spirit, a volunteer trail maintenance box at the entrance includes a pair of pruners to trim briars that could create a problem for those with visual or physical restrictions.
Guides often lead nature and bird walks along the trail, and its short distance accommodates the whole family. For those looking for a longer or more strenuous adventure, the Wildcat Ridge and Polly trails are very close by. — By Sara Crouch
In Pocahontas County, W.Va., the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area is a true treasure of the Monongahela National Forest, protecting four rare bogs and spanning 750 acres.
These glades support plants and animals that are usually found in more northern latitudes such as cranberries, skunk cabbage and the carnivorous sundew and purple pitcher plants, many of which cannot be found further south than this specific area.
The Cranberry Mountain Nature Center is nearby and offers a wealth of information about the unique plants and animals in the botanical area. While the boardwalk and trail are open year-round, the nature center is only open from mid-April to mid-October, so be sure to call before stopping in. — By Sara Crouch