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.


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

It's own sense of beauty.

   March, 2016 by rwm7654

Either direction you start is a winner. The ride, yes a tad bumpy with a dash of mud but we'll worth the beauty that abounds the trail. Thomas,WV is worth the visit alone. read more

Really fun, dramatic

   September, 2015 by jbcarroll

Travelled N to S (downhill) on loaded touring bike in September. For a single track the path is in pretty good shape, though there were some rocks, occasional muddy spots despite the dry weather, and several trees down requiring little detours. I accepted more