Coopers Rock got its name from a legend about a fugitive from the law who hid there for many years. Once this man got settled, he started making barrels and was able to do so for many years. Coopers Rock has 4 main overlooks that are some of the most photographed locations in the state. Coopers Rock area was initially developed as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps projects between 1936 -1942, then became a location on the National Historic Register, and today it is a West Virginia State Park and a protected National Forest area managed by the Department of Forestry at WVU, the Department of Natural Resources, and the West Virginia State Forestry Department. Near Morgantown, Coopers Rock is major recreational spot for hiking, rock climbing, camping, and the amazing scenic overlooks.
Aside from the overlooks, the Henry Clay Iron Furnace is perhaps the most well-known portion of the forest. Accessible via the Clay Furnace or Clay Run trails, the furnace was built between 1834 and 1836 and produced pig iron. Capable of producing 4 tons of iron each day, the furnace employed about 200 people and operated until 1847.