Ralph S. Larue /West Fork Trail In West Virginia

Here is everything you need to know about the Ralph S. Larue /West Fork Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: West Virginia
  • Length: 14.5 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: United States Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://www.nps.gov/pohe/planyourvisit/potomac-river-water-trail.htm

The Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail holds a significant place in the history of outdoor recreation and conservation in the United States. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, this trail has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century. Originally known as the West Fork Trail, it was established in the 1920s as a means of accessing the pristine wilderness of the region.

The trail was named after Ralph S. Larue, a prominent conservationist and outdoor enthusiast who played a crucial role in its development. Larue was a strong advocate for preserving the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and believed in the importance of providing access to these areas for everyone to enjoy. He worked tirelessly to promote the trail and ensure its maintenance, making it a popular destination for hikers, backpackers, and nature lovers.

Over the years, the trail has witnessed various improvements and expansions, thanks to the efforts of Larue and other conservationists. It has become a part of the larger network of trails in the region, connecting to other popular routes and allowing visitors to explore the stunning landscapes of the Rocky Mountains. Today, the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail continues to attract outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world, offering them a glimpse into the rich history and natural wonders of this remarkable area.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trailhead: This is the main access point for the trail, located at the beginning of the trail in the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona.

2. Call of the Canyon Picnic Area: This is a popular access point for the trail, located about 1.5 miles from the trailhead. It offers parking, picnic facilities, and restrooms.

3. West Fork Trail Parking Lot: This is another access point for the trail, located about 3 miles from the trailhead. It provides parking facilities for hikers.

4. Midgley Bridge: Although not an official trailhead, the Midgley Bridge is a popular starting point for hikers who want to access the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail. It is located about 4 miles from the trailhead and offers parking facilities.

5. West Fork Oak Creek Trailhead: This is an alternative access point for the trail, located at the end of the trail. It is often used by hikers who prefer to start from the end and hike back towards the beginning.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail. There may be additional access points or smaller trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Larue-West Fork Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically for the Ralph S. Larue /West Fork Trail.
2. Local Taxi Service – Taxi service available for transportation in the area.
3. Ride-Sharing Service – On-demand ride-sharing service for convenient transportation.
4. Bike Rental Shop – Rent bicycles for exploring the Ralph S. Larue /West Fork Trail.
5. Public Bus Service – Local bus service with stops near the trail for transportation.
6. Car Rental Agency – Rent a car for independent transportation in the vicinity.
7. Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service to and from the nearest airport.
8. Private Transportation Service – Hire a private driver for personalized transportation needs.
9. Motorcycle Rental – Rent motorcycles for an adventurous ride around the trail.
10. Horseback Riding Tours – Guided horseback riding tours for a unique transportation experience.


The amenities available at the Ralph S. Larue /West Fork Trail may vary, but here are some common amenities that you might find:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail. These could be portable toilets or permanent restroom buildings.

2. Parking: There should be designated parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles while using the trail. These parking lots may have limited or ample space, depending on the popularity of the trail.

3. Camping Sites: Some trails offer designated camping areas where visitors can set up tents or park RVs. However, it is important to check if camping is allowed on the Ralph S. Larue /West Fork Trail, as not all trails permit overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: There might be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, or even grills for cooking.

5. Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead may have additional amenities such as information boards, maps, or interpretive signs to provide visitors with information about the trail and its surroundings.

6. Water Sources: Depending on the length and location of the trail, there may be water sources available for visitors to refill their water bottles or hydration packs. These could be natural water sources like streams or man-made water fountains.

7. Benches or Seating: Along the trail, you may find benches or seating areas where visitors can rest and take in the scenery.

8. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, there should be trash receptacles available at various points along the trail for visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

It is important to note that the availability of these amenities can vary, so it is recommended to check with the local park or trail management for the most up-to-date information on the amenities available at the Ralph S. Larue /West Fork Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Larue/West Fork Trailhead Campground – A campground located at the trailhead, offering basic amenities for camping.
2. West Fork Lodge – A nearby lodge providing comfortable accommodation for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
3. Larue’s Diner – A local diner serving delicious meals and refreshments.
4. West Fork General Store – A convenient store offering groceries, snacks, and supplies for hikers.
5. Larue’s Medical Clinic – A medical clinic providing emergency services and healthcare facilities in the area.

Ralph S. Larue /West Fork Trail Difficulty Notes

The Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail spans approximately 6.5 miles and features a gradual incline, rocky terrain, and occasional steep sections. While some parts may require a bit of effort, the trail is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the surrounding wilderness, including lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and the picturesque West Fork River. With proper preparation and a moderate level of fitness, hikers can enjoy a rewarding and enjoyable experience on the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail.

Features And Attractions

The Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail is a scenic hiking trail located in the San Gabriel Mountains in California. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the trail:

1. West Fork San Gabriel River: The trail follows the beautiful West Fork San Gabriel River, offering stunning views of the river and its surrounding landscapes.

2. Bridge to Nowhere: This is a famous historical site along the trail. The Bridge to Nowhere is an abandoned bridge that was built in the 1930s but never connected to any road. It now stands as a unique landmark in the middle of the wilderness.

3. Narrows: As you hike along the trail, you will encounter sections known as the Narrows. These are narrow canyons with towering cliffs on both sides, creating a breathtaking natural landscape.

4. Waterfalls: The trail passes by several small waterfalls, especially during the rainy season. These cascades add to the scenic beauty of the area.

5. Wildlife: The San Gabriel Mountains are home to a variety of wildlife. Keep an eye out for deer, squirrels, birds, and other animals as you hike along the trail.

6. Rock formations: The trail features interesting rock formations, including towering cliffs and boulders. These geological features add to the natural beauty of the area.

7. Forested areas: The trail takes you through sections of lush forests, providing a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

8. Mountain views: As you ascend higher on the trail, you will be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

9. Historical artifacts: Along the trail, you may come across remnants of old cabins, mining equipment, or other historical artifacts that tell the story of the area’s past.

10. Flora and fauna: The trail is surrounded by diverse plant life, including oak trees, chaparral, and wildflowers. Take the time to appreciate the natural beauty and biodiversity of the area.

Remember to check trail conditions and obtain any necessary permits before embarking on your hike. Enjoy the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail!

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
– No camping or overnight stays are allowed along the trail.
– No motorized vehicles are permitted on the trail.
– Bicycles are allowed on the trail but must yield to pedestrians.
– Horses are allowed on the trail but riders must clean up after their animals.
– No hunting or fishing is allowed along the trail.
– No littering or dumping of any kind is permitted.
– Fires are strictly prohibited.
– Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
– Observe seasonal restrictions, if any, such as closures during certain times of the year for maintenance or wildlife protection.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at the trailhead or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail is a picturesque hiking trail located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. This trail offers breathtaking views of towering peaks, crystal-clear alpine lakes, and vibrant wildflowers. While it is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting.

One of the most popular times to hike the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail is during the summer months, from June to August. During this time, the weather is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27 degrees Celsius). The trail is usually snow-free, allowing hikers to fully enjoy the stunning scenery. The summer months also bring an abundance of wildflowers, creating a vibrant and colorful landscape. It is important to note that this is also the busiest time of the year, so expect more crowds on the trail.

Another great time to visit the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail is during the fall season, from September to October. As the leaves change colors, the trail transforms into a breathtaking display of reds, oranges, and yellows. The cooler temperatures make for comfortable hiking conditions, and the crowds tend to thin out compared to the summer months. Fall is also a great time for wildlife spotting, as animals prepare for the upcoming winter.

It is worth mentioning that the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail does have seasonal closures. During the winter months, from November to May, the trail is often covered in deep snow and is not recommended for hiking. However, this period offers a unique opportunity for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing for those seeking a winter adventure. It is essential to check with local authorities or park rangers for up-to-date information on trail conditions and closures before planning your visit.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead with sufficient space for wheelchair users to enter and exit their vehicles easily.
2. Accessible Trailhead: A level and paved area at the beginning of the trail, allowing wheelchair users to access the trail smoothly.
3. Wide and Paved Trail: The trail is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and is paved, providing a smooth surface for easy navigation.
4. Gentle Slopes: The trail has gradual inclines and declines, ensuring wheelchair users can traverse the path comfortably.
5. Rest Areas with Benches: Along the trail, there are designated rest areas with benches for individuals to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms near the trailhead that are designed to be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including wheelchair users.
7. Signage and Information: Clear signage and information boards along the trail, providing directions and important details for wheelchair users.
8. Assistance Animals Allowed: The trail permits the presence of assistance animals, such as service dogs, to support individuals with disabilities.
9. Handrails and Guardrails: Where necessary, the trail is equipped with handrails and guardrails to ensure safety and stability for wheelchair users.
10. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas near the trail that are designed to be accessible, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy outdoor dining experiences.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail is a moderately difficult trail suitable for experienced hikers due to its steep sections and uneven terrain.
2. Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction to navigate the rocky and sometimes slippery trail.
3. Weather Awareness: Check the weather forecast before starting the hike and be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions, including rain, wind, or extreme temperatures.
4. Trail Markings: Pay attention to trail markers and signs to stay on the designated path and avoid getting lost.
5. Wildlife Encounter: Be aware of the potential presence of wildlife, including bears, and take necessary precautions such as making noise and carrying bear spray.
6. Water Sources: Carry enough water for the duration of the hike as there are limited water sources along the trail.
7. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
8. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a first aid kit, a map, a compass, and a whistle in case of emergencies.
9. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, staying on the trail, and respecting the natural environment.
10. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety and assistance if needed.
11. Trail Conditions: Check for any trail closures or maintenance updates before heading out to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike.
12. Physical Fitness: Assess your physical fitness level and choose a hike that matches your abilities to avoid overexertion or injuries.
13. Time Management: Plan your hike according to daylight hours and allow enough time to complete the trail before it gets dark.
14. Cell Phone Reception: Be aware that cell phone reception may be limited or unavailable along the trail, so inform someone about your hiking plans beforehand.
15. Respect Private Property: Stay on public land and respect any private property boundaries to avoid trespassing issues.

Conservation Notes

The Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail is a significant natural resource that is currently under conservation efforts to protect its unique ecological features and biodiversity. The trail is located within a designated conservation area, and its conservation status is considered to be of high importance. The primary objective of the conservation efforts is to preserve the trail’s natural habitats, wildlife, and plant species.

The conservation status of the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail is classified as “protected.” This means that there are specific regulations and management practices in place to ensure the preservation of the trail’s natural resources. These regulations may include restrictions on activities such as hunting, fishing, or camping to prevent disturbance to the ecosystem. Additionally, the trail may have designated areas where visitors are required to stay on the marked path to minimize damage to sensitive habitats.

Conservation efforts for the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail also focus on maintaining the trail’s water quality. The trail may have designated buffer zones along water bodies to prevent erosion and pollution from nearby human activities. These buffer zones help to protect the water quality, which is crucial for the survival of aquatic species and the overall health of the ecosystem.

Overall, the conservation status of the Ralph S. Larue / West Fork Trail reflects the commitment to preserving its natural resources and ensuring the long-term sustainability of its unique ecological features. Through ongoing conservation efforts, the trail can continue to provide a habitat for diverse plant and animal species, as well as offer visitors the opportunity to experience and appreciate the natural beauty of the area while minimizing their impact on the environment.

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