Touring - W.V. Clarksburg / Cass
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06-29-05, 05:20 PM
Perhaps someone has experience with a good connection route between the eastern terminus of the North Bend Rail Trail near Clarksburg and the northern terminus of the Greenbrier Trail near Cass in West (By God) Virginia. I'm looking for an Inn or campsite somewhere toward the Cass end of the route. The map indicates a hundred miles between the two points (regardless of the route). I'll be rolling light with three other riders on a tour across southern Ohio and West Virginia. One day century rides (after a week of touring) in the Appalachian Mountains are beyond the ability of one of the riders and not exactly what the rest of us would call "fun". Current intentions have us staying in Clarksburg overnight before departing for Cass. I need to locate the best route for bicycle touring between the two points and a place to spend the night (we camp if we must) sixty to seventy miles out from Clarksburg.
02-24-06, 10:20 AM
Did you ever make that ride?
03-01-06, 08:19 AM
The West Virginia tour kicked some serious ass. Beautiful is a meager description for the scenery, culture, roads and trails. Lots of correspondence with various West Virginia bicycling officionados brought me to the conclusion that there is not a predictably "suitable" touring route through the truck infested roads between Clarksburg and Elkins West Virginia (that is not to say that a route doesn't exist, just that it probably ain't going to be discerned by those unfamiliar with the geography between the two points). I discovered a good alternative in the form of Enterprise Rental Car (you know... the guys that pick you up in your rental car). Enterprise has offices in both Clarksburg and Elkins. A couple of weeks before the tour I reserved a pickup truck with an extended cab at Clarksburg. About 30 minutes before reaching the end of the North Bend Trail, I called Enterprise in Clarksburg and asked them to pick me up at Wolf Summit. No problem. The agency picked me up. I drove to the agency and signed out the truck then returned to Wolf Summit where the rest of the bicyclers were just arriving. We put the five rigs in the truck bed, secured them with our bungey cords and drove to Elkins in comfort. Our motel was only a couple of blocks from the rental agency in Elkins.
We pedalled across the Cheat Mountain Trail (more or less) to Glady the next morning. At Glady (what an incredibly remote, friendly, post card town) we caught the trail head of the West Fork Greenbrier Trail. Even though it is all dirt (crushed, compacted limestone) and little maintained, with plenty of mud, water and overgrowth, The West Fork is the best (for reasons that appeal to my personality) rail trail I have ever pedalled a bicycle on (and tell me you... I have bicycled on more than a few of them).
I have routes, maps, points of interest, sleeping and eating accomodations, phone numbers and contact names, photographs etc. Email me for more information <firstname.lastname@example.org>. If you like back country touring, Our route between Parkersburg and White Sulfer Springs is one of the best 4 to 5 day rides anywhere but development pressure is crouching like a tiger in W.V. ... so do it soon before it becomes something entirely different.
03-01-06, 10:26 AM
Well it sounds as if I will have to do the two trails, will be two different occassions though. HOw are the trails? Are they marked good or do you have to explore a bit. I'm thinking of doing the camping thing once I get a trailer to haul things, hopefully I can find someone from my home area to ride with. I do have the map of the North Bend trail and I also have one of the Greenbrier. I just need nicer weather and time. Of course I need to get on my bike more to prepare, you callouses on my ass:)
03-01-06, 04:04 PM
The North Bend and Greenbrier Trails are incredibly obvious. The West Fork is a little more rustic but it would be tough to lose it. These are all old railroad grades so they don't really wind around much and never exceed a 2% grade. Following river valleys through the mountains, the railroad cut tunnels through the hills whenever the course of the river changed abruptly.
It is important to have a light for navigation in the tunnels. I use a good quality light on my helmet instead of the handlebars for this purpose. I've rode the North Bend in the rain and the fog and in very bright conditions. It is actually less disconcerting to pedal into the tunnels on a gloomy rainy day than on a bright sunny one. Some folks prefer to actually walk their bicycles. Many of the tunnels are water logged with a loose, gravely trail surface. The trail condition combining the with the mild vertigo of a tunnel environment creates the need for serious concentration when pedaling. None of the tunnels are so long that you lose sight of the other end for more than a moment. They are awesome to behold as you pedal along the arboreal trail and suddenly find yourself at an entrance. The tunnels are ghosts in themselves.
The West Fork Greenbrier follows the bed of an old logging spur down a long, beautiful marshy valley (beautiful is really a pathetically weak adjective for this valley). Fly fishing in the brooks and springs produced lots of fine Brook Trout all along the West Fork. There are plenty of spectacular camping spots on the West Fork. The place is packed with wildlife so take precautions to keep black bears from raiding your bags while you camp. Contact the Forest Service office in Durbin for a map of the West Fork with all the camping spots marked.
Along the North Bend and Greenbrier it is definitely best to camp in one of the State Parks. You can even catch breakfast in the lodges if you like.
We parked our vehicle at the West Virginia University Parkersburg campus (the university staff laughed when I asked how much it would cost to leave a car in their parking lot for five days... pay for parking? in West Virginia? I love that state!) At trails end I rented a pickup truck in Lewisburg and drove us back to the car in Parkersburg.
03-02-06, 09:26 AM
I need to make mention of a mistake I made in an earlier post here and clarify some issues that seem to be confusing. I originally mentioned the ride from Elkins to Cass across the Cheat Mountain Trail... sorry. The Cheat Mountain Trail delivers you to GLADY. Glady is the name of the postcard town at the trail head of West Fork Greenbrier Rail Trail. Cass is the town at the north end of the Greenbrier Trail. Cass is really something you have to experience to understand. There are more Steam Powered Locomotives operating out of this mountain town than anywhere else in the U.S.. I edited the original post to relate the correct information.
The North Bend Trail, West Fork Greenbrier (I refer to it as "West Fork")Trail and the Greenbrier Trail are three seperate West Virginia rail trails. I connected the North Bend Trail to the West Fork Trail with a vehicle shuttle from Clarksburg (near the eastern terminus of the North Bend Trail) to Elkins and a mountain road / trail bicycle route across Cheat Mountain from Elkins to Glady (head of the West Fork Trail). The West Fork terminates near Durbin. We pedaled Back Mountain Road from Durbin to Cass where the Greenbrier Trail Begins. The Greenbrier runs south to Caldwell (near White Sulpher Springs and Lewisburg) where we ended the tour.
I hope this makes things much clearer.
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