Music By:  Alan "Cathead" Johnston

About Us

History Of McDowell

McDowell County was named after Governor James McDowell in 1858. The county is located in the most southern part of the West Virginia coalfields. McDowell was best known in its golden years as the coal power source for our nation. It fueled the steel industry and was responsible for making weapons and ships that won WWII.  McDowell County has a vast and varied history with the coal and railway industry. McDowell County is made up of eight districts Adkin, Anawalt, Big Creek, Browns Creek, Elkhorn, Northfork, and Big Sandy. 

Major Andrew Lewis of the Lewis and Clarke Expedition camped in the town of Iaeger, WV on February 26, 1756 and it is listed on the national historic road markers. Present day McDowell County is known for the setting of the "Rocket Boys" by Homer Hickam which was made into the movie "October Skies." This is the story about the Coalwood, WV boys whose innovations and aspirations in the art of rocket science gained the town national recognition.

McDowell County is now known for its rugged mountain terrain, ATV trails called the Indian Ridge Trail System and the Hatfield-McCoy Trails.  These trail heads are open to: ATV's, dirt bikes, selected utility vehicles, mountain bikes, horses and hikers. Visitors can enjoy several wildlife reserves such as:  Panther Park Wildlife Managment Area, Berwind Lake Wildlife Management Area, and the National Coal Heritage Area, a thirteen county area designated as coal heritage history area by Congress and is listed with the National Park Service.  

Come and "Explore the Excitement and Enjoyment" of meandering the country roads of McDowell County, West Virginia and "enjoy life as it used to be."

Visit McDowell County and Enjoy How Life Used to Be

    Welcome to OUR Website


The Council of the Southern Mountains, a nonprofit social service agency in southern West Virginia, has developed this website to encourage tourists to visit the spectacular County of McDowell, in West Virginia. The Council of the Southern Mountains tourism initiative purpose is to promote economic development alternatives through tourism in McDowell County, West Virginia.  As a result, the Council disseminates information on county-wide events, local activities, hotels, restaurants and points of interest through this website. By utilizing this site, visitors can receive information on "things to do" and "things to see" in one of the most unique places in the country. Visitors will be able to have the outdoor experiences of a lifetime in McDowell County as it is home to some of the best ATV trails in the U.S. Visitors will have no long lines of traffic with wonderful "out of the way" and "historic" places to visit.  So come and explore the excitement and enjoyment of "how life used to be" in McDowell County, WV.


We Hope To See You Here!

Bartley Miner's Memorial

Bartley Miner's Memorial honors the 91 coal miners that perished in the No. 1 mine explosion at Bartley, West Virginia on January 10, 1940 in McDowell County.  This explosion was one of the most disastrous mining accidents in McDowell County's history.  The Bartley mining accident was second only to the Everetteville, West Virginia mining accident on April 30, 1927.  

For more information on this mining accident please visit: