Cranberry River (West Virginia)

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Cranberry River
Cranberry River West Virginia.jpg
High water near Big Rock Campground in Monongahela National Forest
CountryUnited States
StateWest Virginia
CountiesPocahontas, Webster, Nicholas
Physical characteristics
SourceSouth Fork Cranberry River
 ⁃ locationCranberry Mountain, Pocahontas County, WV
 ⁃ coordinates38°12′48″N 80°13′14″W / 38.21333°N 80.22056°W / 38.21333; -80.22056
 ⁃ elevation3,890 ft (1,190 m)
2nd sourceNorth Fork Cranberry River
 ⁃ locationBlack Mountain, Pocahontas County, WV
 ⁃ coordinates38°14′03″N 80°14′32″W / 38.23417°N 80.24222°W / 38.23417; -80.24222
 ⁃ elevation4,364 ft (1,330 m)
Source confluence 
 ⁃ locationPocahontas County, WV
 ⁃ coordinates38°15′28″N 80°19′27″W / 38.25778°N 80.32417°W / 38.25778; -80.32417
 ⁃ elevation3,176 ft (968 m)
MouthGauley River[1]
 ⁃ location
Woodbine, WV
 ⁃ coordinates
38°17′58″N 80°36′49″W / 38.29944°N 80.61361°W / 38.29944; -80.61361Coordinates: 38°17′58″N 80°36′49″W / 38.29944°N 80.61361°W / 38.29944; -80.61361
 ⁃ elevation
1,919 ft (585 m)
Length24 mi (39 km)[1]
Basin size74 sq mi (190 km2)[3]
 ⁃ locationnear Richwood, WV[2]
 ⁃ average317 cu ft/s (9.0 m3/s)[2]
 ⁃ minimum50 cu ft/s (1.4 m3/s)(1986)
 ⁃ maximum3,450 cu ft/s (98 m3/s)(1970)
Cranberry River at the Woodbine Picnic Area after a heavy rain

The Cranberry River is a tributary of the Gauley River located in southeastern West Virginia in the United States.[4] It is a part of the Mississippi River watershed, by way of the Gauley, Kanawha, and Ohio Rivers, draining an area of 74 square miles (192 km2).[3]

The river has also been known historically as Cranberry Creek.[1] The river was named for cranberry bogs along its course.[5]


The Cranberry River is formed in southwestern Pocahontas County by the confluence of its North and South forks.[1] The South Fork, the longer of the two at a length of 9 miles (14 km),[6] rises on Cranberry Mountain just west of the Highland Scenic Highway before flowing through the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area. The North Fork rises about 2 miles (3.2 km) north on Black Mountain.

Below the confluence of its forks, the Cranberry flows for 24 miles (39 km) generally westward towards its mouth at the Gauley River near Craigsville.

Since the river flows mostly through United States Forest Service land, no more than a handful of people live along its banks; the few that do reside near the mouth of the river.[citation needed] However, the Cranberry River has several pay campgrounds, free campsites, and picnic areas along its banks.[7]


The Cranberry River and its small tributaries are regarded as some of the finest trout streams in the eastern United States. Until recently, however, trout fishing on the south fork was limited to the lower half of the river due to acid rain. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has worked to counter this problem by installing a liming station on the north fork of the river.[8]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Cranberry River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
  2. ^ a b "USGS 03187500 CRANBERRY RIVER NEAR RICHWOOD, WV". National Water Information System. U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
  3. ^ a b Grafton, Emily. 2006. "Cranberry River." The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Ken Sullivan, editor. Charleston, WV: West Virginia Humanities Council. ISBN 0-9778498-0-5.
  4. ^ DeLorme (1997). West Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. ISBN 0-89933-246-3.
  5. ^ Kenny, Hamill (1945). West Virginia Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning, Including the Nomenclature of the Streams and Mountains. Piedmont, WV: The Place Name Press. p. 189.
  6. ^ "South Fork Cranberry River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
  7. ^ Big Rock Campground, Cranberry Campground, Cranberry River campsites, Woodbine Picnic Area, in the Monongahela National Forest
  8. ^ Gasper, Donald C. New Native Brook Trout Streams, A New Wilderness (pdf)