West Virginia's beautiful Greenbrier River Trail is one of America's premier rail-trails and popular with bicyclists, hikers, walkers and cross-country skiers. Most of the trail runs along the gorgeous Greenbrier River and passes through picturesque countryside as it winds through the river valley. There is no doubt you will see many species of interesting wildlife along this wonderful trail.
Today, the trail is operated and maintained by West Virginia State Parks, but it was originally built for use by one of the many West Virginia railroads that served the once prospering local timber industry. Now the trail is for recreational use, with overnight campsites and many restroom and water facilities scattered along its route. The trail hosts the popular annual Great Greenbrier River Race: canoeing, biking and running.
Even though the mile posts start at the southern end of the Greenbrier River Trail, it's best to start your trip on the slightly uphill grade at the northern end at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park and follow the river downstream. The first town you will pass is Clover Lick, a lovely little Appalachian town with rustic remnants of the old railroad depot that once served the booming logging industry.
Beyond the Clover Lick trailhead, the trail proceeds south, winding 20 miles downstream through some of the most scenic and remote wilderness landscapes in West Virginia. This section ends at the only large town you will encounter along the trail—Marlinton—that hosts some great lunch spots and B&Bs. You can find a trailside information center in Marlinton's old train station near mile 55. As you proceed south from Marlinton, you will cross the river twice before reaching the halfway point at Beard.
One of the great things about the Greenbrier River Trail is the opportunity to see remnants of the old railroad, including many whistleposts and historical mile markers. Beyond Beard (mile post 31) is one of the trails' two spectacular tunnels: the 402-foot-long Droop Mountain Tunnel, built in 1900, and Sharps Tunnel, 511 feet long and built in 1899.
Continuing south, beyond Anthony (at mile 15), the trail crosses two old railroad bridges and eventually reaches its southern terminus at North Caldwell (mile post 3). This trailhead is located just outside Lewisburg, which has a variety of shops, restaurants and lodging.
To reach the northern trailhead at Cass, take US 219 to State Route 66 east; or take SR 28 to SR 66 west and look for the trailhead at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park along SR 66 (Back Mountain Road).
To reach the southern trailhead at North Caldwell, take Interstate 64 east and take Exit 175 to US 60 west. Take this 2.7 miles to SR 38/Stone House Road. If you're coming from I-64 west, take Exit 169 to US 219 north, then take this 0.5 mile to SR 30/Brush Road. From here, drive another 0.5 mile to SR 38/Stone House Road.