West Virginia Hiking, Nature September 20, 2018
The One River Trail in West Virginia That Belongs At The Top Of Your Bucket List
Some trails are a dime a dozen, others are legendary. The Greenbrier River trail is the latter. It is the longest trail in West Virginia, with so much to do along its route.
The Greenbrier River Trail is a 78-mile trail that used to be a railroad line. It passes through several tunnels and runs right along the Greenbrier River for the majority of its length.
For those of you who wish to visit this gorgeous trail, a good spot to begin is northern tip of the trail at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Head south. Along the way you will pass the town of Clover Lick. Founded in the early 1900s, this charming town used to be a major stop along the railroad during a time when the logging industry was booming. The historic train depot still remains.
Along the way, you will have access to the Greenbrier River as well. The river is as much a part of the trail as dry land. Its really just a question of which route you choose to take.
On the river, you can go boating or canoeing, seeing the passing land in many forms, either through a lush forest valley or a scenic ride along great walls of natural rock.
Or you may choose to take both routes, hiking or biking along the trail with intermittent stops to fish for a little bit; either traditional fishing, or depending on the depths of the water, fly fishing.
The river has changes in depth along the way, allowing for both types of fishing. Some areas will require you to fish by land or boat, while others are shallow enough for you to walk right into the river.
Though many portions of the trail will take you through the wilderness, especially the roughly 20-mile stretch beyond Clover Lick, there are also many towns along the way. Following the trail beyond Clover Lick will eventually lead you to Marlinton, with restaurants and Inns in which to stay for the night before continuing your journey.
Of course, the great thing about this trail is that you do not have to walk a great deal of its length. You can pop in and out of the trail as you see fit. It really just depends on your dedication to the hike.
Of course, the trail serves as a great place to go biking as well. It crosses many bridges and gravel paths, making it fairly easy to traverse on a mountain bike.
Along the trail, you will encounter historical mile markers relating to the old railroad line. However the most impressive bits of the old railroad is the Droop Mountain Tunnel, which is more than 400 feet long, and Sharps Tunnel, which is 511 feet. Both were built around the turn of the 20th century.
So, there are many things to see and do along this trail, and you can spend years going back to it, exploring different parts that you had not seen before.
This is a trip you may choose to plan out, so you know where you are going and what you can do along the way.
To learn more about the trail, and to download a park map, check out their website
here. There are many sites you can view to plan your trip, with photos and reviews, but this one is a good place to start as you plan your visit.
Have you ever hiked or fished along the Greenbrier River Trail? If so, what sections? Have any of our readers tackled the entire length of the trail? Feel free to comment below and join the discussion.