The idea for creation of the Kanawha Trace came from several different sources. Charles Dundas and Ben E. Triplett, as boys, they hiked through the area that is today the route of the Kanawha Trace. However, in the beginning they followed back roads and camped at farms along the way. One day while sharing a breakfast of corn bread, home cured bacon and eggs at a farm; a lady by the name of Mabel Sergeant suggested that it would be a lot more interesting for the boys to hike cross-country through the woods rather than walk the roads. From that germ of an idea came the Kanawha Trace. The final impetus to the creation of the trail came from Mr. Harry H. Hann, Scoutmaster of Troop 42 during the late 1950's and early 60's. He felt that building a trail would be an excellent project for the troop. His goal was to build a trail that would correct the short comings of some of the trails that the troop had hieked and that would create a long range goal for the troop to work toward.
The trail opened for use in 1961 with the official dedication taking place in October 1962. The trail was constructed by, and has been continuously maintained by Troop 42. The trail is approved by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Additionally Troop 42 is a member of the West Virginia Scenic Trails Association and has participated in the association's trail building efforts, particularly the construction of the Alleghany Trail. The Kanawha Trace is carried by the state of West Virginia on its registry of scenic and historic trails. A number of improvements along the trail have been funded by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources' Non-Game Wildlife Cooperative Projects Fund. This funding is the result of grants awarded to Troop 42 by the Department of Natural Resources. Additional funding for the trail comes from the $.50 user/registration fee, sales of patches, medals contributions by individuals and the Huntington Kiwanis Club.