Ask The Editors: Hatfield & McCoy Trails History Lesson

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Dear ATVC:

This may be a dumb question but it’s something I really wonder. What do the Hatfield McCoy trails have to do with the famous feud that inspired the series on History Channel?

That’s not a bad question- and the answer lies in the proximity of the trails to the area associated with said legendary feud. While it can be said the two names are often used to blanket all of Appalachia, the paths we like to explore on our trusty ATVs are indeed the same land being war-ravished during the Hatfield McCoy feud in the late 1800s.

If you want a brief history lesson, during the Civil War, West Virginia had sided with the North, Kentucky with the South and a river separated the two regions.

Tensions ran high between the Kentucky-sided McCoys and the West Virginia-sided Hatfields throughout the war. In fact peace wasn’t established until more than a decade after the war ended. The area was a site for conflict for many years and then fell out of notoriety until the New River Gorge was discovered by white water rafters and became a gem in the crown of recreation for the state of West Virginia.

As more and more recreationalists flocked to the area, trails soon developed (some new, some only rediscovered from the past). So indeed it turns out the Hatfield McCoy trails bear more than just a common namesake of the famous feuders.

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