West Virginia Hiking, Nature June 23, 2020
The Longest Bike Trail In West Virginia, The Greenbrier River Trail Takes You On A Beautiful Three-Day Journey
You’ve probably heard of the Greenbrier River Trail: it’s 78 miles of old railroad bed converted to a bike trail that runs along the Greenbrier River from Caldwell to Cass in West Virginia. But have you ever thought about tackling the whole trip in one epic three-day adventure?
Start in Cass and take on 25 gentle downhill miles a day (the trail has a constant 1% grade), stopping in Marlinton and then camping along the trail before reaching Caldwell and taking a shuttle back up to Cass, giving you plenty of time to stop and enjoy some of the many trail-side attractions.
There are quite a few outfitters who will shuttle you from Caldwell back to your car.
Or, on the Caldwell end (so you can drive to food and lodging in nearby Lewisburg before you start and when you finish!), bite off 50 miles a day with an overnight stop at Watoga State Park, then another in Marlinton after turning around in Cass and heading back downhill.
Here are some lodging and food suggestions along the trail and a few notable attractions to enjoy! In addition to the stops listed below, there are about 10 primitive campsites right next to the trail (cut into the riverbank) and various watering stations and restrooms easily accessible to trail users.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park (approximately mile marker 78, a terminus of the trail): take a historic train ride (or two or three!) into the nearby mountains, spend the night in a coal company house, or tour a logging camp/museum.
You can also eat near the trailhead at The Last Run Restaurant or stay and eat at the Bear Creek Lodge. Or stay at EJ's Cottages, Camping, and Stabling...especially if you're planning to ride your horse along the trail instead of your bike! Beware that cell service is spotty or nonexistent at this end of the trail as it is part of the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone.
Marlinton (approximately mile marker 56): grab a bite to eat, recharge at a bed and breakfast or inn, and stock up on groceries. Marlinton is by far the easiest place to find food along the trail, so stock up!
Consider Dirtbean Café (they're also a bicycle repair shop!), Alfredo's Italian and Greek, Rayetta's Lunchbox, or Food Stores (a grocery chain), all conveniently located just blocks from where the Greenbriar River Trail crosses 8th and 9th streets in Marlinton. Combine dinner with an overnight stay at the Greenbrier Grille and Lodge located right on the river on the corner of 8th and 1st streets. Or travel a few miles south of Marlinton and stay on the river in the Country River Cabins or the Hummingbird House.
Watoga State Park (approximately mile marker 46): hike, stay overnight in a cabin or campsite, climb an observation tower, swim, boat, or attend a nature program at West Virginia's largest state park, which intersects the Greenbrier River Trail near the community of Seebert.
Caldwell (mile marker 0): There's not much in Caldwell, restaurant wise, and the trek to Lewisburg for food and lodging adds another several miles along the busy Route 60, so it's a good place to have a car parked so that you can easily head into Lewisburg and enjoy the many attractions there!
Between Cass and Marlinton, enjoy Clover Lick Depot and Sharps Tunnel. Droop Mountain Tunnel at mile marker 31 is the second tunnel of the trail, on the other side of Marlinton.
What itinerary did you use if you traveled the whole Greenbrier River Trail, or if you’ve only traveled a portion, which was it? We’d love to hear your experiences and recommendations!
Address: Greenbrier River Trail, West Virginia, USA Address: Watoga State Park, 4800 Watoga Park Rd, Marlinton, WV 24954, USA Address: Marlinton, WV, USA Address: Cass, WV 24927, USA