I somehow found it quite appropriate that I tried snowshoeing for the first time at a place called Snowshoe Mountain (http://www.snowshoemtn.com). Wouldn’t it seem logical that somewhere named “snowshoe” would have great snowshoeing? It did – and does.
Located in Pocahontas County, Snowshoe Mountain has been known for decades as one of the region’s premier downhill destinations. However, millions of dollars of additions and renovations in recent years have brought a ton of new reasons to go to snowshoe – including a top-notch snowshoeing program.
The resort’s snowshoe offerings are organized by the Snowshoe Mountain Outdoor Adventure Program. A cabin in the woods (that offers sporting clays spring to fall) serves as the base, with a full rental program (varied Atlas and Tubbs options for $25, which includes the trail fee), trail maps (for those with their own gear, there is a trail fee of $12), and basic instruction (they promised I didn’t need much and they were right).
You can basically just walk out the cabin door and find more than 25 miles of marked trails. My first jaunt was an easy trail down a slight grade to pretty Shavers Lake (where you can quietly observe lots of skiers and boarders making their way down the slopes). However, over the next few days, I quickly moved on to treks out to Sunrise Backcountry Hut (ask about their overnight program), the Fire Tower, and much more.
To get even further afield, there are guided snowshoe trips that explore the resort’s 11,000 acres of backcountry and the 900,000 plus acres of Monongahela National Forest. These fantastic guided trips, which are run in conjunction with Adventurous Seasonal Pursuits, can be booked for a half-day, full day, or even an overnight snowshoe adventure.