Kanawha County’s Elk River Trail provides access to Coonskin Park, a large park originally built by local residents in the 1950s and now managed by the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission. The trail runs alongside the Elk River for its entire length, although views are largely obscured by dense tree cover.
On the trail’s eastern side, Charleston’s Yeager Airport is hidden from view by a substantial elevation change typical of the scenic region’s topography. Case in point: there is a steep grade where the trail leaves a former rail corridor. While the majority of the Elk River Trail is not a rail-trail, a short section runs parallel to an out-of-service rail line, making it a very short rail-with-trail.
At the trail’s northern end, Coonskin Park offers a playground, golf course, amphitheater, soccer stadium, swimming pool, tennis and volleyball courts, hiking trails and picnic shelters, all nestled within more than a thousand acres of woodlands.
Parking for the Elk River Trail is available in Coonskin Park at the Riverside Pavilion. A sign along Coonskin Drive will direct you to turn left to access the trail and parking just south of J.W. Herscher Lake.