Thanksgiving on the Trails

ATV enthusiastic enjoy the skip the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday festivities to enjoy the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system. Pictured, a side-by-side zips up a connector trail from Bramwell on Thanksgiving.

BLUEWELL — Instead of a traditional Thanksgiving experience tourists are setting a new trend by spending the holiday on the ATV trails.

Rather than sitting around the table with family and friends the up and coming tradition is to spend the festive holiday covered in mud and exploring the West Virginian wilderness. With hundreds of miles of trails, the mountain state is seeing guests sharing their thanks while wearing their ATV helmets.

Spending the holiday doing what they enjoy, the Lambert family, from Salisbury, North Carolina has continued their own tradition of riding the West Virginian trails.

“We started doing this about five years ago,” Paula Lambert said.

The Lambert’s trails of choice, the Hatfield-McCoy trail system, consists of 700 plus trails through W. Va. according to the Hatfield-McCoy website.

Since beginning the trail riding trend, the trip has helped the family grow closer together. Not only does it allow them to venture out of their day to day lives but it also adds more memories to their annual expeditions.

The trails of W. Va. also offer a different experience from their home state. Whereas North Carolina may be flatter W. Va.’s reputation proceeds it as the mountain state.

Of his home terrain, James said “Our’s is more rocky.”

This year’s Thanksgiving holiday saw an influx of guests visit the trails and resorts. Wild Willy’s ATV Resort in Northfork was booked to capacity with tourists seeking a good experience in the wilderness.

“Every year is different but as time goes on it gets busier and busier each year,” owner Bonnie Roberts said.

Having been open for ten years the business has seen many guests come through their doors. Though Thanksgiving hasn’t always been a holiday synonymous with adventurous travel Roberts has seen an uptick in recent years.

“This has been the busiest we’ve had so far,” Roberts said.

With the chilly weather that swept through the area on the holiday, Roberts expected ATV tourism to see a dive but the opposite occurred. Rather than staying indoors with a plate full of food, Roberts saw many families strap on to their ATV’s and head out to the mountains.

Contact Emily D. Coppola at

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