Description - **Information provivded by West Virginia Division of Natural Resources**
Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park is located in the Greenbrier River Valley north of Lewisburg and is the site of West Virginia's last significant Civil War battle. On November 6, 1863, the federal army of Brigadier General William W. Averell, in his second attempt to disrupt the Virginia-Tennessee Railroad at Salem, Virginia, faced again the Confederate troops of Brigadier General John Echols. Throughout the morning, Echols' smaller confederate army held the high ground and blocked the highway with artillery, but in the afternoon was overwhelmed by the crushing advance of federal infantry on his left flank. Following the collapse of his lines, General Echols retreated south into Virginia with the remnants of his command. Federal Troops occupied Lewisburg on November 7, but being burdened with prisoners and captured livestock, General Averell elected to return to his headquarters in Beverly, West Virginia, waiting until early December to lead a third and ultimately successful attack on the vital railroad. Operations in the Shenandoah Valley in the spring of 1864 drew remaining confederate troops out of west Virginia, thus leaving the new state securely under the control of the federal government for the remainder of the war.
- historic scenery. hiking
Recreation - Hiking
Big Spring Trail
The trail begins at the west overlook and ends at a mountain spring. This is a dead-end trail down the mountain side which offers pure spring water and a strenuous climb back.
Length: 1/3 mile with very steep grades.
Travel time: 20-30 minutes.
Cranberry Bogs Trail
Hikers can start at the park office and end at the south picnic area. This is the most popular trail in the park, winding through a mountain bog where interesting plants, tall pines, and wildlife can be seen. This trail is suitable for cross-country skiing in the winter.
Length: 1/2 mile mostly level, easy walking
Travel: 30-45 minutes
Horse Heaven Trail
This trail starts at the pump house near the cannon and ends at the south picnic area. The trail follows a series of small cliffs and gives acccess to Horse Heaven Rock, where horses killed in the battle of Droop Mountain were disposed of.
Length: 1/4 mile with a moderate grade.
Travel Time: 15-20 minutes
Minie Ball Trail
This is the most rigorous park trail, located in a ravine where Union soldiers climbed the mountain to attack the Confederates waiting above. The trail begins at the first sharp curve in the road near the office and ends at the tower.
Length: 1/2 mile with very long, steep grades.
Travel: 30-45 minutes
Originating near the park office this trail follows a steep hillside. Stumps of American Chestnut trees alive during the time of the battle remain. The trail ends at the lookout tower.
Length: 1/2 mile with a moderate grade.
Travel: 20-30 minutes
Old Soldier Trail
This easy trail follows an old road grade which passes near the spot where Major Robert Augustus Bailey was shot while trying to rally his men around the Confederate Flag. The trail begins near the battlefield monuments and ends at the stone shed near the tower. It is an excellent cross country ski trail in the winter.
Length: 2/3 mile trail is level throughout and easy walking
Travel: 45-60 minutes
The trail begins at the pump house near the cannon and ends at the park office. The trail follows a series of rock cliffs. Following the cliffs visitors can observe several small caves, an old bear den, a scenic overlook and Civil War trenches.
Length: 1/2 mile with moderate grade
Travel: 20-30 minutes
This trail begins at the park office and ends at the stone shed near the lookout tower. This is the shortest route from park office to the lookout tower.
Length: 1/2 mile, level to moderate grades
Travel: 10-15 minutes.
Climate - West Virginia experiences four distinct seasons, none of which are extreme. Temperatures in the highlands of the Allegheny Mountains are somewhat more severe than the rest of the state. Generally temperatures during the winter months range from 15 to 40 degrees F. Ample snow accumulation provides for cross-country and downhill skiing opportunities. Spring brings blooming trees and shrubs to the forested regions of the state, as well as warmer temperatures. During this season, March through May, expect mild temperatures between 45 and 70 degrees F. Summers are normally hot with high humidity, especially at lower elevations. Expect temperatures to range from 70 at night to 95 during the dog days of August. Fall brings cool, crisp air to West Virginia and spectacular foliage color changes. Bring a light jacket for this season, which brings temperatures between 35, at night, to 70 degrees F, during the day.
Located in the southeastern part of the state, Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park is located on Route 219, 15 miles south of Marlinton and 27 miles north of Lewisburg.