W.Va. Route 9 Bike Path
Late Nov 2011 running/biking the Route 9 trail
11/28/2011 4:59:14 PM
Had the opportunity to run most and bike all of this trail over the Thanksgiving Day holiday as it was quite nice outside. The first thing to note is that there are no amenities along the trail or at the trailheads. So, no porta johns or water. There are shopping areas nearby at either end if you need to take care of business beforehand. But, you're out of luck if you need something along the way. Fortunately, being only 10 miles long, it's not too terribly far if you have a mechanical bike issue. Now on one day, ran a good amount of the trail starting from the southern trailhead. Parked at the Park 'n Ride just after getting off of Route 9 at the Currie Lane exit. Plenty of parking here, but again, no facilities. The trail description is accurate stating that about the southern half and perhaps a bit more is lightly rolling to flat. There are several road crossings along the way, but most of these roads have light traffic on them except for route 480. That is a main road into Kearneysville and Shepherdstown. While you should stop and look for cars at the crossings, you have be much more careful here. I turned around just as I was getting into more rolling terrain. The next day biking, I started from the northern trailhead. As indicated, this is near the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg. This parking lot is small and only has maybe 10 spaces. Still, there was only 1 other car when I pulled in and 3 others when I got back. Now the northern section definitely has a few hills. These aren't overly difficult and they don't last long. However, I almost didn't realize I was coming up to a crossing after coming down one of them. The caution markings for this hill needed to be prior to where they are. The path is also along a few low traffic volume streets for short distances close to the northern trailhead. This isn't a big deal, but you do have to be aware for a bit of any traffic when you're on them. The northern section of the path is actually wider than the southern part, I'd say by a good 2-3 feet. So lots of room! Good pavement along nearly all the way with no cracks or holes, which shows how new this is. There were gravel and debris (some glass) along the two underpasses you have to go through, though. In addition to the parking indicated, there are a couple of other gravel areas which folks use, particularly one along route 480. Rating this trail - I would give it a higher rating of 4 or maybe even 5 because I did enjoy running/riding it. However, the lack of amenities detract from this nice trail. While the historic markers are a nice touch, I think folks would rather have benches to sit on (there weren't any) as well as perhaps a few shade places. Definitely some sort of water and/or porta johns, particularly at the northern trailhead where the parking area was made just for trail use. I can see this would get quite hot in the summer time as well since there's no shade. Now it didn't really bother me, but I think other folks might be bothered by the traffic nearby too. So, if one is looking for a quiet trail, this isn't it. Still, all and all, a decent trail to get some running or biking on in the Charles Town to Martinsburg area. While there are a couple of other nicer trails that are a bit closer to me, I'll probably be back when I want to do something different. I submitted a few photos as well.