The Cranberry Tri-Rivers Rail-Trail, also called the Cranberry Rail-Trail, is named for the Cranberry, Cherry and Gauley rivers it travels along or across. The trail begins in downtown Richwood, immediately behind the visitors center, which is housed in the old passenger and freight railway depot.
For the first 6 miles of the trail, you travel through town and adjacent to private property. Don't be deterred by the occasional litter-strewn yard or dog that gives chase. The trail here parallels the beautiful Cherry River and is well worth the trip for the view. Shortly after the trail crosses State Route 55 in Holcomb, it enters Monongahela National Forest. Here, the routenow a more dedicated trailbecomes much easier to follow, with no road crossings or private property abutting it, and only the roar of the rushing water to keep you company. A beautiful waterfall on the right is visible from the conveniently located viewing platform.
After you cross the Cranberry River, the trail takes you through the curving, 640-foot Sarah's Tunnel, which is pitch dark at its center. One mile beyond the tunnel, you arrive at the trail's end. There are plans to extend the trail another 10 miles into the forest, but until that happens, please adhere to the no-trespassing signs.
For a longer visit, cabins are located next to the trail after you enter Monongahela National Forest. As with most trails in West Virginia, the Cranberry Tri-Rivers Rail-Trail is breathtakingly beautiful. However, the surface can be a difficult from the protruding tree roots and rocks; be prepared for thick, sticky mud just after the winter thaw.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the Richwood trailhead take State Route 39 to the old railway depot. The trail is the gravel/dirt path behind the depot, now a visitor center.
The Holcomb trailhead is the recommended starting point for the trip through Monongahela National Forest. The trail crosses State Route 55 on the east side of the Cherry River (if you are coming from Richwood, look for the trail before the bridge over the river). You can park at the trail entrance on the north side of the road.