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2023 Trip Report - The Hatfield & McCoy Report

The Hatfield & McCoy Report

By Ingo Werk

When a Desert Explorer goes East, the landscape changes to all kinds of green. West Virginia was the destination, a state in the tree-covered Appalachian Mountains. The perfect scenery for the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud, involving two American families of the West Virginia - Kentucky area along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River from 1863 to 1891. Fast forward to September 2023, I wanted to experience the Hatfield-McCoy Trail Drives: over 1,000 miles of twisting, winding, history-packed trails in the backwoods.

I arrived at the Hatfield-McCoy Trails Welcome Center and was advised that even in a Tacoma cabin I had to wear a helmet. For out-of-state folks the charge was $50 and only three trails were available for off road vehicles like Jeeps, Tacomas, etc. All other trails were reserved for ATVs and side-by-sides. I received excellent maps with each trail rated by difficulty. The most difficult trails required even a roll cage inside the vehicle. Well, rules and regulations like the four wheelers out West have never seen.

The landscape is spectacular and the trails are fun to drive, some more challenging than others. I opted for the “easy” ones because I was by myself. My two dachshunds wouldn’t have had enough strength to pull me out. I hope I can do the Hatfield-McCoy trail system again but next time with a fellow Desert Explorer in another vehicle. Additional information can be found on their website at On my way back home, I visited Desert Explorers Bill and Julie Smith’s new home in South Carolina. As shown in the selfie with brother Carl, while Bill was actually out West. ~ Ingo


We were happy that fellow DE friend Ingo stopped to visit us in Honea Path, South Carolina. He had been traveling on the east coast with his two pups and dropped by on his way back to Louisiana. Any Desert Explorers that find themselves in our area are welcomed to visit.  ~ Julie Smith