West Virginia

Murphy Preserve

Murphy Preserve consists of older oak-hickory forest on a rolling topography of hills and coves.

Why You Should Visit
The Murphy family donated this 276 acre tract to The Nature Conservancy in 1967 so that there would always be a place where natural processes could continue without human intrusion.  The preserve consists of two tracts of older oak-hickory forest on rolling topography of hills and coves.  The two ponds on the property have a large number of amphibians and have been the subject of several research projects.

Location:  Ritchie County, WV

Size:  276 acres


What to See: Plants
Spring has bountiful wildflower displays.

What to See: Animals
Summer has nesting birds, including the Cerulean Warbler.

The preserve has no formal trails but hiking is easy since the mature forests have an open understory. Download brochure and trail map.


From Parkersburg:

  • Take U.S. Route 50 east for 30 miles. 
  • Just before Pennsboro, turn right on Bunnell Run Road, 50/21.
  • Go approximately 3 miles and look for an old oil tower. 
  • Park on the left next to the gas line right-of-way.  Hike up the hill on the right-of-way.
  • Circling around to the other side of the preserve is possible in a high clearance vehicle. 
  • Continue down Bunnell Run Road, and turn right at the stop sign. 
  • After you pass a church and cemetery, turn right onto Cunningham Run Road. 
  • The opposite side of the preserve begins at the gas pipeline and continues up to the AT&T building on right side of road. 
  • Continue up this road to orange flags on the left that mark the beginning of Tract 1. 
  • Tract 1 continues to new dirt road on left, from which you can exit back out onto Route 50. 
  • The stone preserve sign is about mid-way on the left side of the road.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

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Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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