West Virginia's West Fork River Trail provides a snapshot of some of the most beautiful scenery in this region. The trail's path was once used by the far-reaching Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to deliver coal. Today's plans however, are to transport people and link this rail-trail to the American Discovery Trail.
Shortly after its start in picturesque Shinnston, the trail reaches the rippling West Fork River and its cliffs and forests. Close to the Harrison and Marion county border, you will pass a historical railroad bridge that spans the river. The trail travels through some wooded passages and then it opens up to a park, where children play baseball and softball and fisherman vie for the prized catch below the dam.
A few miles beyond the park you cross a railroad bridge and return to the wooded haven of the trail. At the town of Norway, you have the option of going another 0.5 mile to a stunning wooden bridge, or you can continue past the bridge to the Mary Lou Retton Youth Park, which offers recreational fields, parking, restrooms and the West Virginia Miners Memorial. Pay close attention for the turnoff for the park: heading toward Fairmont, the turnoff is on the right. After turning off the trail, turn left to reach the park on the paved road (unmarked County Road 56/6), and then take a quick right up hill on unmarked Norway Road through the little town of Norway.
Parking and Trail Access
The starting point in Shinnston is accessible from US 19 on the southern end of town. To reach Shinnston from the Shinnston/Saltwell Road Exit off Interstate 79, turn left (west) and proceed 0.25 mile to the gas station. Turn left on Saltwell Road (SR 131) and follow this about 7 miles to US 19 in Shinnston. Turn right on US 19 (Pike Street) and drive 6 blocks. Turn left on Mahlon Street at St. Ann's Catholic Church, before the bridge across the West Fork River. Go 1 block and park on the street. The trail begins under the US 19 bridge.
To reach the northern end in Fairmont from the US 250 Exit (#132) off Interstate 79, go north on US 250. Turn left on Mary Lou Retton Drive then left on Old Monongah Road and head to Mary Lou Retton Youth Park. Park here and walk or ride to the top of the driveway. Follow signs approximately 1 mile on Norway Road to the trail. At the trail, turn left to go in the direction of Shinnston.