From family rides on the rugged trails of Mercer County, the idea for conveniently-located, family-friendly ATV lodging was conceived. The plan turned into a reality in 2016, when Four Wheeler Heaven officially opened for business, offering lodging to ATV enthusiasts in Coaldale, West Virginia.
For decades, owner and Coaldale area native Mike Constantino witnessed an influx of ATV riders to Mercer County with no place to stay, or even park.
“We saw that people were coming into Mercer County but had to park on the side of the road to get out on the trails, leaving their trailers and trucks behind,” Mike said.
All this buzz on the trails sparked an interest and by the early 2000s, Mike had purchased his first ATV, a Polaris 325, for himself and a Polaris 90 for his oldest son, Marcus. Soon the 90 was passed down to his younger son, Kristofer.
The Hatfield-McCoy trails and surrounding areas have provided lasting memories for the Constantino family.
“In the early years, it was just Marcus and I on the trails,” Mike said. “He would ride all those trails — all the green and blue trails.”
Before the trails were incorporated into the Hatfield-McCoy trails, Mike and Marcus, would ride the stretch of trails from Coaldale to Pinnacle Creek, passing the old mining site known as the “Stairsteps.”
As many locals know, the “Stairsteps” is an unreclaimed slate dump. The way the slate was dumped formed a step pattern coming up or going down the mountain. From there, riders could head to Pinnacle Creek and the old Wagon Wheel ATV Resort.
“There wasn’t a whole lot open back then, but back in its day it was a nice little adventure,” Mike said.
Today, those trails run across areas that have become the Pocahontas, Indian Ridge and Pinnacle Creek trail systems. These days, Mike still takes to the trails with his sons when they have time away from their busy lives. Sometimes you can even catch him on a side-by-side with his wife, Lori.
“She would ride with us but didn’t like the jostle of the ATVs out on the trails,” Mike said. “We would always be waiting on mama out on the trails; the boys were always about more speed.”
Now Mike and Lori enjoy the tamer, dyer trails in the area on side-by-side rides together.
While riding remains a family pastime, the Constantino family has since turned their hobby into a successful business venture.
After brewing on a plan to open a lodge for riders, Mike brought his family aboard to start work on Four Wheeler Heaven. Once he found the perfect location in Coaldale in 2013, renovation began, turning an old residence into a three-floor residence for ATV lodging.
The renovation of the grounds and the technical aspect of the business was an entire family effort.
“When we first started, of course, we needed a web page and e-commerce and my son, Marcus, took care of that,” Mike said. “And my son Kristofer helped around the grounds, cutting grass and cleaning.”
Mike gives full credit to Lori for her support and help with Four Wheeler Heaven.
“She has been instrumental in keeping me grounded and helping with the business from the very beginning,” he said.
Now with both sons out of college and living on their own, the Constantinos are empty nesters. And while the day-to-day operations are taken care of by Mike and Lori, Marcus is still remotely active in their marketing efforts. He assists with things like managing the website, Facebook page and all the e-commerce links and portals. Kristofer also helps with specific tasks like moving furniture or spring cleaning and renovation projects.
As Four Wheeler Heaven continues to grow, the Constantinos are looking forward to more families creating their own unique memories out on the trails.
“Riding here is still a family thing,” Mike reflected.
Photos submitted by Marcus Constantino.
This post was last updated on November 19, 2020