Named after Governor James McDowell in 1858, McDowell County is located deep in the heart of coal country. The largest coal producing county in the world for many years, it fueled the steel industry and was responsible for the making of weapons and ships that won WWI and II.
The County Seat is Welch, located at the forks of the Tug River and Elkhorn Creek. The City is noted for having the first World War I memorial building and the first municipally owned and operated parking building, and a nationally recognized historic district diverse in architecture and cultural styles.
The County’s present day fame is the setting for “Rocket Boys”, a novel by Homer Hickam that traces the story of a few Coalwood boys whose innovations and aspirations in the art of rocket science gained the town national recognition.
The Indian Ridge Trail System is the most recently added 75 mile addition to the Hatfield-McCoy Trails Family. The Ashland Trailhead is the only trailhead to the Indian Ridge Trail at this time and is located in McDowell County. The Hatfield-McCoy Trails, also referred to as ‘Trails Heaven’, is open to ATV’s, Dirt Bikes, select Utility Vehicles (UTVs), Mountain Bikes, Horses, and Hikers.
The remote wilderness in this region offers renowned hunting opportunities. While many counties offer gun hunting during deer season, McDowell only permits bow hunting. Great Wildlife Experiences Await You! Call the McDowell County Commission for more information on the area, 304-436-8548.