About an hour and half outside of Pittsburgh is Coopers Rock State Forest near Cheat Lake, WV. We were there so my wife could participate in the Coopers Rock 50K and half marathon put on by the Coopers Rock Foundation. Of course this gives me a wonderful opportunity to setup for sunrise or sunset easily. Last year we visited Coopers Rock for the first time in September and did the Ravens Rock Overlook Trail and the Rock City Trail, had two beautiful hikes and vowed to be back. I believe some co-workers alerted her to the half marathon trail race. It’s such a short drive from home so we opted to leave on late Friday afternoon and arrived 2 hours before sunset so she could grab her race packet. I got a good chance to scout out the sky. After checking into the hotel and checking a few locations, I headed off to Cheat Lake to find a good spot. First, I headed to Sunset Bay because why not, any place named sunset and I figured it would be a good spot. What I didn’t realize, nor checked before hand is that it’s a small cove and while looks nice if planned, the water wasn’t high enough to reach all of the docks. The ones that it did reach were really close to a restaurant on-site. I opted to keep searching and had a little bit of time before the show. I spotted another location near-by that looked perfect and right on the water. What I didn’t realize was that it was a gated community. I drove around a bit in there after getting lost and decided to give one more location a try. I headed back toward all the marinas and took a little road near the water. I ran into a Marina parking lot elevated above the docks. I decided to turn in there and catch the last bit of sun off in the distance. The sky was losing those oranges fast but I was able to catch the last bit and quite happy how it turned out. Future visits I will make sure I do more planning before we go, so I know exactly where to go for sunset. I know we will be back because there are quite a few more trails that we want to do. Coopers Rock State Forest is a beautiful place and the wife did well in the race, I’m sure this will be on her list of races for years to come.
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