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Explore the best rated trails in South Charleston, WV, whether you're looking for an easy walking trail or a bike trail like the Elk River Trail (Coonskin Park) and Lewis McManus Memorial Honor Trail . With more than 12 trails covering 118 miles you're bound to find a perfect trail for you. Click on any trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
We camped on Elk River in Gassaway. Did out and back rides on the trail from Gassaway (end/beginning) down to near Ivydale then started from other end (Hartland) up to just shy of Ivydale. No services, one old convenience store near trail in Duck. Surface is crushed stone and in very good condition. Hardly saw a soul. Lots of deer. Be sure you bring what you need with you. Follows river quite closely all the way.
This trail is not bad but it could be so much better. It’s not in the best condition and the section from Bidwell to Kerr was completely unkept & unridable as far as I could tell. If they could fix that section and have it connect to the main trail and then somehow add some more trail along the river front, this would be a five star trail.
Beautifully taken care of cross over bridges, you do come a little close to some houses but only a little bit
We rode part of the trail from Duck to just south of Frametown. Nice surface and well maintained.
My wife and I started from Gassaway through Duck. Unfortunately the Gassaway section to Frametown was not open. We met the Park Superintendent (Heath Cliver) on the trail and the State has just taken over the closed Gassaway portion. The dog issue outside of Duck mentioned earlier on this site has been eliminated. The plans call for continued resurfacing and more benches. The plans outlined by the Super were very positive. The trail is still in very good condition and the future is very bright for Elk River.
Nice trail. Did not like being chased by dogs. The Clendenin section. People were very nice!
We rode on September 22 and we're warned by another cyclist that there was a dog near Duck who is chasing cyclists spooking horses and even bit a walker.
My wife and I unloaded our bikes in the parking lot beside River Street/Perry Street in Gassaway, WV. We crossed the street and rode a wide and well packed Elk River Rail Trail for about 3.5 miles before we turned back because we were limited on time. It's a cool ride even on a hot day with a band of shading trees between the trail and the Elk River. I do plan to ride the trail to Duck, WV in the near future.
I have also walked a couple of miles south and back from the Duck trail access point and it seemed as nice as the Gassaway trail head.
This rail trail has signs that limit access to walking, bicycles, Class 1 E-Bikes, and Horses.
Easy flat and filled with views. For beginning bikers or casual warmup…
The ride was on a narrow rough sidewalk, busy street on one side and steep hill down to river on other side.
I rode from the trailhead at Farm Rd to the end and back. Great shade, friendly people, not busy/crowded at all. Bird nerd paradise! So many species and songs! Trail was perfumed with the sweet smell of honeysuckle throughout. Very easy ride but recommend walking up the steep slope at the park because you have to come to a dead stop at the apex or you're in the street.
I rode this trail today after riding the Rend Trail. Well, I rode the 1.2 miles closest to Southside Junction, at least. There are two basic options for starting on this side. The only way to avoid crossing the tracks is to park at the Rend Trailhead, ride that trail, and carry your bike down the Arbuckle Connector. It's mostly rock steps, not rideable, and thus it's carrying your bike down 300 feet of election over less than a mile. But it avoids the tracks, and is how I got there.
The other is starting either at the Rend Trailhead or Thurmond and crossing the tracks. Today, a CSX crew was welding the tracks on the Thurmond side, and all signals were red as a result, but most days there are likely trails rolling through. Realistically, I expect anyone starting at the north end and traversing the whole length will want to cross the tracks and explore Thurmond, and I didn't see a reason to expect it to be any more hazardous than crossing the tracks near my grandparents' house. Why hasn't the NPS put more emphasis on making an official crossing? That is a great segway into the trail itself.
Between the Arbuckle Connector and the tracks, the trail is wide enough, and directly parallels decades-abandoned track. It's scenic, and in one section there were flowers dropped from trees all along the ground. But it's also not exactly well maintained. I had to dismount and duck my bike under one tree, and lift it over three others (two of them grouped together). It's clear that active maintenance of this trail isn't a high priority, which is likely related to why an official crossing at the southern end hasn't been a high priority.
North of the Arbuckle Connector, the trail narrows into a singletrack, and I eventually hit a lengthy mud patch that I decided was not worth traversing.
You do get some views of the New River that you don't on the Rend Trail, but none that beat what you can get from the pedestrian observation points on the bridge into Thurmond. Overall, if you're starting from the south, the Rend Trail is the better bargain even with the trestle out, at least in the spring. Maybe in August there wouldn't be mud, and the Southside would be more traversable.
I'll also note that despite rating this trail 3/5, I'd still very much recommend a day exploring Thurmond, the Rend Trail, and if time permits the Southside Trail. But Thurmond should be the main draw, not the trails, and given their short lengths and rough terrain, it doesn't really make sense to haul bikes there if you don't already have them loaded onto your car for another destination.
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