The Cranberry River is a tributary of the Gauley River that drains 74 square miles in the Allegheny Mountains region of eastern West Virginia (WV). The river rises in southwestern Pocahontas County at the junction of its North Fork and South Fork. The South Fork arises on Cranberry Mountain just west of the Highland Scenic Highway and flows through the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area. The North Fork arises about two miles to the north on Black Mountain. From the junction of its forks, the Cranberry descends westward through Webster County and Nicholas County.
The Cranberry River and its forks have been numbered among the best trout fishing streams in eastern United States. The river and its drainage are entirely contained in the Monongahela National Forest. A large part of its drainage is protected as part of the Cranberry Wilderness and Cranberry Backcountry, both managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
History of the Cranberry River
As a result of its rugged terrain, access to the Cranberry River region was limited until construction of railroads in the late 1800s. The forest was untouched when the Cherry River Boom & Lumber Co. acquired 200,000 acres on its upper watercourse at the turn of the 20th century. By 1930 the entire had been was logged. Much of the region was afterward burned by wildfire. Few people live along the banks of the Cranberry River as it is now owned largely by the United States Forest Service.
Cranberry Creek, Yew River
Information on lodging, dining, and recreation on and near the lower Cherry River may be found in our guide to travel in the Allegheny Highlands Region, in east-central West Virginia.