Blackwater Canyon Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

In 1888, the Blackwater Canyon Trail, located in the Monongahela National Forest, was used to haul coal and lumber through this stunning canyon. Today, remnants of this history still remain just outside of Thomas in the form of coke ovens that line the trail along the mountainside.

The Blackwater Canyon Trail is perfect for hikers or mountain bikers in search of solitude. The trail curves along the Blackwater River and its North Branch, meandering through Blackwater Falls State Park. As such, this is a terrifically scenic pathway, with mountains lining both sides of the canyon, and the roaring river a steady soundtrack to your journey. Best views of the river, including scenic waterfalls, are to be enjoyed during late fall, winter and early spring, when the trees don't have as many leaves.

It is best to follow this trail from Thomas to Hendricks since there is a considerable climb in the other direction. As you travel along the Blackwater Canyon Trail, you may happen upon one of several endangered species, including the West Virginia flying squirrel, Indiana bat or the Cheat Mountain salamander. The habitat surrounding the trail is vital to the survival of these species, so it is important to stay on the trail. In Hendricks, it is also possible to pick up the Allegheny Highlands Trail and Limerock Trail (hiking only).

Parking and Trail Access

In Thomas, head south on State Route 32 (Spruce Street). Turn right onto Douglas Road, which crosses the trail. Turn left off Douglas Road onto the trail (you can drive on this portion) to reach the trailhead, approximately 1 mile down the road. The trailhead, where there is space for parking, is marked by a Forest Service gate.

In Hendricks, take State Route 72 east through town and turn right on Second Street. The trailhead is on the right. Look for the gazebo and parking at the trailhead.


Labor Day

   November, 2016 by george.dasher

We rode this trail just before Labor Day. Parked at Hedricks and rode up, had a beer or two (and excellent crossaints (however you spell them)) at the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, and drifted all the way back down to our cars. It was great ride, and the trail more

Great vistas

   October, 2016 by biagiowallace

This is one of the great trails for breathtaking scenery. Started in Parsons WV and rode to Thomas WV. The ride from Parsons to Hendricks is paved once in Hendricks the trail ascends to Thomas. About two miles past Hendrick the trail get's a little rough more

Not your standard Rail Trail....

   August, 2016 by beachbum25

Rode this Trail one way downhill from Thomas to Hendricks using a Shuttle First week of August. You can park right on the Street in Thomas & there is a lot in Hendricks at the Town Park where the Blackwater Canyon Trail meets the Allegheny Highlands Trail. more