The North Bend Rail Trail is part of the West Virginia State Park system and a component of the coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail. It runs 72 miles on an old B&O railbed from Parkersburg to Wolf Junction (near Clarksburg), paralleling US Route 50. The scenic trail features 36 bridges and 12 tunnels (10 passable, bring lights). There once were 23 tunnels but the remainder were "daylighted" - read more about the tunnels and bridges here . The trail is very remote, but some of the towns have facilities, food and lodging. Benches and picnic tables are provided along the route. (Detailed map and photos below.)
North Bend Rail Trail
Location: Parkersburg to Wolf Junction (Clarksburg), WV (See map)
Distance: 72 miles
Surface: Gravel, dirt, crushed stone, grass
Support and Advocacy:
North Bend Rails to Trails Foundation
We biked sections of the trail at Eaton, Cairo, Ellenville, and Salem, including 6 tunnels, and visited other trailheads. The dirt/stone/gravel surface is mostly easy to ride, the grassy sections were more challenging. Mild grades of no more than 1.5% were appreciated by us Florida flatlanders.
The Happy Valley trailhead is about 1 mile from the western terminus at Parkersburg - off route 47 to Happy Valley Road. Parking, picnic tables.
We biked from Eaton Station (parking only) to Tunnel #21, at 1,840 feet it's the second longest tunnel. The trail is hard-packed and easy to ride through this section, the tunnel was mostly smooth.
Cairo is a quaint town with restaurants, shops, and a bike shop. The old bank building is now North Bend Rails to Trails Foundation headquarters. We biked to Tunnel #19, the Silver Run Tunnel - 1,376 feet, smooth ride. The tunnel is reported to be haunted - but we saw and heard nothing!
A link from the park runs to the trail, we biked from here to two tunnels. The trail was hard packed and easy to ride. Tunnel #13 at Bond's Creek is 353 feet - in 1956 a train wrecked here and fell into Bonds Creek, killing 2 people and injuring 45. Tunnel #12 is 577 feet. Both were smooth rides.
Ellenboro is noted for its glass and marble factories; food, hotel, and facilities are available. We biked both ways from the overpass over Route 16 (the steepest grade on the trail). Westbound, the trail went past a mostly industrial area so we went back to the overpass and proceeded eastbound to Tunnel #10, the Dick Bias Tunnel. It's 377 feet, and notable for being carved through solid rock. Damp but rideable.
Salem was settled in 1794, and has food and lodging available. We parked at the B&O train station and biked to Tunnel #2, which runs 1,086 feet; rough and wet. This was our least favorite section of the trail, running along the road in parts and some overgrown grassy spots to push through.
At the road crossing we saw a short section of trail that was mostly overgrown.
West Virginia State Parks - North Bend Rail Trail
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