Cranberry Tri-Rivers Rail Trail

West Virginia

Cranberry Tri-Rivers Rail Trail Facts

States: West Virginia
Counties: Nicholas
Length: 16 miles
Trail end points: Behind the depot nr. Oakford Ave. (Richwood) and Near Kyler Road at the river (Allingdale)
Trail surfaces: Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017423
Trail activities: Fishing, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Cranberry Tri-Rivers Rail Trail Description

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, with the first 3 between Richwood and Fenwick being the toughest. 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 route—now a more dedicated trail—becomes 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 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 SR 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.

Cranberry Tri-Rivers Rail Trail Reviews

Being a virgin trail rider, wasn't sure what to expect. On 10-16-2016, a warm sunny Sunday afternoon, Rode from Holcomb to the mouth of the Cranberry River in less than an hour. Very clean, level and smooth trail with really nice views of the Cherry River and Gauley. The bonus is met I John S who is takes care of the trail. I will be going back to do the stretch from Richwood to Holcomb.

This past week-end I hiked this trail from the Holcomb trailhead to Sarah’s Tunnel and back. For me, a great setting for physical, intellectual and spiritual adventure. Overall, a great trail that I will definitely revisit, but a few observations for those considering a trip. There are no mile posts so you must rely on your own means to gauge distance. The late Spring/early summer foliage impedes your view of the whitewater rapids of the Cherry and Gauley rivers. The views I did get were spectacular. I plan to go back in November when foliage is not a factor. Holcomb is for sure the best starting point and parking is well marked. I recommend this trail.

Once we started at the Richwood trail head, went about a mile of grass and weeds, we asked a local who told us to turn around that the trail had a couverture wash out and was not a well kept ride. Asked around and found the Holcomb trail head, great start rode to the finish on gravel, pea gravel, some mud but a good ride. There is one stop and sit and that's it, we did find a creek side place to lunch. The tunnel is dark and needs a light mid way, but still a must see. All in all good ride but it's now checked off my list. No redo in the near future.

Accordion

I was super excited to try this trail on my bike and drove to Richwood. The parking space and map at the visitor center was beautiful! I read the directions and went on my way....and got a little lost so I asked a few locals for help. Nobody that I spoke to knew about the trail and couldn''t even identify the landmarks on the map. I persisted on down the road to find two aggressive dogs unleashed comin at me. I had to return to my car and packed up my bike. I then tried to start down the road more by the gas station next to the bridge....once again, after I passed the pizza shop, another unleashed dog started barking at me. I then realized that even if I did venture passed the dog, the trail was overgrown with weeds and would be impossible to use. This discouraged me to continue so I got back in my car and tried to start at Halcomb. There is a no parking sign at this entrance so I didn't feel confident leaving my vehicle. (The trail was marked though, so that was a nice surprise.) lastly, I tried to begin at the end so I could at least go through the bridge....ugh! It was hard to find since it isn't marked and no one local knows about this trail. I finally found it across from a gas station and decided to just hike in the mile to see the bridge. There are tons of beer cans thrown on the trail and it appears to have 4 wheeler tracks. With that, I left. Not what I was hoping for...if they really want to consider this trail to be an attraction, they need to renovate it completely. The visitor center with the map is a great start, but the trail itself sucks...

We loved biking this trail. First 3 miles have some gravel but the remaining is a perfect flat course. We couldn't believe how well the trail is taken care of.. Highly recommend. Note: not recommended for dogs off leash, there are many spots on the trail with cliffs.

All around a great trail for a bike ride. However the 1st 3 miles from richwood to fenwick is very tough. Ranging from a mild mountain bike trail ride to borderline strenuous. I would recommend mountain bike only for this section. The next 2 miles are somewhat better and when you reach Holcomb it becomes more conventional rail trail type ride and a very enjoyable ride from this point. Unfortunately I had to stop at the 10 mile mark at the bridge where the gauley and cherry rivers meet due to the fact I was running out of daylight. But most definitely will return to finish this trail at a later date. Trail was excellent to me and look forward to return trip and completing it. I would recommend that any bike rider ride this trail.

My wife and I rode this trail. We went 8.5 miles one way on the trail then back and there wasn't one part of it I could complain about. We started where it crosses Route 55 and went a little past the Tunnel. It does get bumpier up near the tunnel, but still easy. We both enjoyed it alot and definitely plan on returning to do the whole trail. There were places near the tunnel where water almost covered the whole trail, but it was only a few inches deep and just made the trial more fun for us. My wife and I had no problems at all on the trail and this was my wife's first time on a ride other than around the yard. Great Trail Now, not sure how it was when all the complaints were written.

What a horribly maintained bike trail. If the town of Richwood wants to compete for tourism dollars, this trail is not going to make it happen for them. We started at Holcomb, rode close to a mile and returned to our truck. The surface was not at all what a bicycle trail should be. The gravel was road type gravel, way to big to ride on with a bicycle. The ride was bumpy and way too rough!!. We went back to the truck to possibly begin our ride back towards Richwood, and that part of the trail too was impassable. The grass was waist high and the muddy. I would not recommend this trail to anyone.

I note that a prior reviewer rode this trail in Jan 08. I recently went on this trail (summer 08) and found grass as high as my shoulder and a small lake blocking the path several miles north of Holcomb. Water runs parallel to the trail in many places and floods the trail.

A MUCH better trail is the Greenbrier that runs from Lewisburg to Cass, WV.

People in the area were gracious and deserve your huge respect and great manners. I started at the Trailhead sign at CR39 bridge. This end of the trail would be considered rougher in spots by riders who want a perfect surface. I didn't see a perfect surfuace anywhere but it certainly was quite rideable just a little more coarse than a perfect trail. Starting at Fenwich is better and starting at Hocomb is better than that. I personally loved it all but did have to get off the bike and get muddy for short distances. No Tears! Right back on and having a ball. The Cherry River was not as visible as I would have liked due to tree growth but still had many sweet veiws from the trail. When you see a concrete structure that resembles and little light house - you are starting up he Gauley River and will encounter a number of places to go off trail to see the River. Please do so. Take a camera, fishing rod, and lunch. The surface got smoother here. You will cross the Cranberry in a few more miles and be fairly close to the tunnel. Alot of folks turn around here and return. The few muddy places on the trail showed animals tracks. I went all the way to the Adkins Store where I got drinks and food and rested for the return trip. Nice people there. I pushed it too hard to get to this point and found my return trip was tiring. Got some water from the Folks near the Cranberry bridge. By the time I got back it was dark and I was whipped. I hadn't ridden for a while.
A few precautions need mention on this trail. I didn't encounter many people on the trail - Make sure you have great tires and know how to change/fix a flat. Finding help might be a real problem. This area is remote, beautiful and just a little more ruff, not much at all.
In my opinion if you pass on doing this trail - you are missing a great one! I loved it. Go early and take your time.

"I love this trail, but it is not accessible for people to ride horse back, that do not have a trailer. I live on the allingdale side and can ride my horses from my house to the first trustle which is very large. I am unable to get my horses across. I would love to ride the trail on horse back, but you can see my dilima. I would love to see something done to help with this problem. Putting a solid floor down on them would help alot. I know they have problems with 4-wheelers on the trail but if the entrance was narrowed on or before the trustle the 4-wheelers could not cross.
thanks, Mary"

I have reviewed this trail and it is not fit to walk your dog on let alone ride a bike. Want more information e-mail me at the above address.

"The trail was a little wet and soft, but this time of the year you have to expect that. A good view of the river. A lot of big rocks in the river and the current was moving pretty fast."

"Trail is 16.5 miles, not 26. Although the 3 miles from Richmond to Fenwick is supposively not in good shape. Section from Fenwick to Holcomb was a little bit overgrown, but still rideable on a MTB. Section of Holcomb to end of trail near Allington was in great shape. Trail is new and not completely shaded, so you might avoid in on midday during the summer."

"As the web site said-The Recommended Trail Head is Holcomb. We used Richwood & the 1st 3 miles were NASTY Nasty nasty-Tall grass w/standing water, 4"" soft sludge mud (sewage draining down from houses up on the ridge above the trail, over grown w/briar, wild rose bushes, broken glass & one area had like red clay packed (imported dirt from GA?)that had all sorts of rutts, ridges - Looked like it was dump there for trail improvement, but never evened out. There was 2 places where a huge pile of small stones were dumped(never evened out) & you have to horse around them. Needless to say this area is not maintained, which is a shame because there is several homeless people on this portion of the trail. A local informed us that Richwood can not manage funds. Hopefully Rails-To-Trails will ivestigate this one, since I donate to them. The rest of the trail was rough, using some attention,but at least it wasn't a constant challenge. We rode the trail on a Sunday in June & nevr saw another biker or soul - But plenty of deer! Sarah's Tunnel is a real treat! Richwood has a Family Dollar, FoodLiner, & a Outfitter Store for those camping needs you forgot. It also has a WaterGate Motel & Four Seasons Lodge (motel), which was Really, really Nice-in a very nice setting Rte 39"

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