A few weeks ago I published a rememberance of family vacations spent at Cranberry Glades. Shortly after writing that article, my wife and I had the great fortune of visiting my childhood home. On the way back to New Jersey, we stopped by Cranberry Glades for a quick hike. The Glades were already boasting their fall colors under blue skies. The temperature was perfect – what a beautiful place.
At about 750 acres, the Cranberry Glades are the largest area of bogs in West Virginia. This unique ecosystem, which consists of 5 bogs, was preserved by the U.S. Forest Service in 1965 and protects over 60 species of plants, most of which are usually only found much farther north. The gladed land is highly acidic and supports cranberries, skunk cabbage, sphagnum moss, and two types of carnivorous plants (purple pitcher plants and sundews).
A half-mile boardwalk traces along the edge of two bogs and through a small wooded area, giving you the opportunity to experience and enjoy this remarkable and ecologically-sensitive area. I especially enjoy the boardwalk – slowly walking through the Glades, stopping here and there to enjoy an unusual plant or snap a photo.
Not far from the boardwalk, you can visit the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. Open from April through November, the Center has an exhibit hall and audio visual programs which provide interpretation of forest ecosystems and local history. You will informational brochures and maps and, if you’re like me, a nature book or two to add to your library.
After so many years away, it was invigorating to re-visit one of my childhood stomping grounds. I highly recommend the experience for everyone!