Harrison County Southern Rail Trail

West Virginia

Harrison County Southern Rail Trail Facts

States: West Virginia
Counties: Harrison
Length: 5.6 miles
Trail end points: Alpha Hill Rd. and CR 25 (Mount Clare) and south of Railroad St. (Lost Creek)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Grass
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6650156
Trail activities: Bike, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking

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Harrison County Southern Rail Trail Description

When complete, the Harrison County Southern Rail Trail will extend south from Veteran's Memorial Park and the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg to the rural community of Lost Creek. The trail, roughly half of which is currently open between Lost Creek and Mount Clare, was built on a railbanked CSX corridor that parallels Browns Creek and County Road 25.

Running for nearly 6 miles, the trail passes farmland set against the backdrop of the rolling hills that make this part of West Virginia exceptionally beautiful. Several restored trestles along the way cross the snaking course of Browns Creek, which is never far out of sight. In Lost Creek, the trail ends just before a closed trestle over the creek of the same name (just beyond the Lost Creek Community Building), where a sign warns users that their route has ended.

The trail has a rougher surface more suited to mountain bikes than road bikes, but a planned upgrade should soon remediate some drainage issues and add improved signage and lighting. The trail will ultimately be extended north into Clarksburg via a restored railroad tunnel near the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center. (Note that much of this section between Mount Clare and Clarksburg is technically open but unimproved and only passable with hiking boots.)

Someday it is hoped that Clarksburg will be a destination hub of rail-trails, where the Harrison County Southern Rail Trail, North Bend Rail Trail and West Fork River Trail (via the Harrison County Northern Rail Trail) all meet, replicating the traffic brought by the railroads in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Lost Creek trailhead by car from points north, take Interstate 79 to Exit 110. Travel 0.9 mile south on CR 25 and cross the intersection with State Route 270. Trailhead parking is 0.2 mile on the left.

To reach the Mount Clare trailhead by bike or car from Clarksburg's Veteran's Memorial Park, turn left out of the park on SR 98 and then right on Lost Creek Road (CR 25). Follow the road 3.8 miles to Alpha Hill Road, and turn right. The trailhead is on the left.

Harrison County Southern Rail Trail Reviews

Trail is ok on its southern end. The trail is narrow in places but pleasant. However, as you travel north through Mt. Clare towards Clarksburg, the vibe changes. Trail is wider, but that's because it's used by 4-wheelers. Lots of trash in creek and collapsing buildings, and holes in bridge surfaces. Unpleasant and needs help!

This is a very nice trail, as far as it goes. I started in Lost Creek and rode north, over a long hill. Once on the other side and about a mile north of I-79, the trail just turns to crap. Lots of trash, I rode on a potholed dirt road, and the bridges are just railroad ties. The neighborhoods there are not nice (although not unfriendly), and there was A LOT of off-road motorcycle and ATV traffic. I finally had to quit riding north as the trail just turned to mud--impassible even for a mountain bike.

All in all, the southern five miles or so was very nice. The northern five miles needs a lot of work and a least a temporary police presence.

I stopped and talked to two locals. It is interesting that I was riding on an old freight B&O rail line, while across the creek was an old trolley line that ran between Clarksburg and Weston ages ago. Bet that was a pretty ride in a open car.

The downhill ride back into Lost Creek was very nice. Top rings all the way.

george

The trail is pretty and pleasant through Lost Creek. However, beyond the I-79 underpass, it gets progressively more inhospitable. Many barriers preventing four wheelers have been removed leaving dangerous metal "stumps" in the ground that are hidden by weeds.

It is not remotely safe to enter the Mt. Clare section of the trail. It has been taken over by four-wheelers and the many small bridges have not yet been converted to rail-trail quality. Definitely not safe for biking.

From a hospitality standpoint, The Mt. Clare section was like being isolated in a Deliverance scene with large barking dogs, decaying properties, unsavory characters, and unsafe trail conditions. There were no signs indicating the underdeveloped section of trail.

I was forced to turn back by two pickup trucks blocking the path and was followed and watched by two other pick-up trucks. A large dog barking was tied up right at trails edge, and fireworks set off, I felt to intentionally scare me. This was on Monday morning July 27th, 2015.

If the problem area of this trail could be properly developed and protected, it could be a wonderful asset to Clarksburg, and the communities along the trail. However, I can see where right-of-way enforcement in the Mt. Clare section could be a problem.

Accordion

My son and I are new to Mtn biking and this was our second trail. For the most part the trail was nice ,but the grass needs cut and bridges need fixed. There were a few small muddy areas still able to go around but a bridge had a big whole in it where we had to carry our bikes across,. With that being said we still enjoyed the ride. I wish it went farther.

We rode part of this trail today and saw that there is good potential here, but that the trail is in poor shape and in need of some TLC. The surface probably hasn't been touched since it was initially laid down. Coming north out of Lost Creek it is only 1' wide in many parts and some of it is rutted. It is not a trail for road tires at all. There is a good 3% up grade for 2 mi. out of town and then it begins a down grade. We didn't bike too far because of the heat and humidity. The houses along the section we rode are nice and new, but there isn't much else in the way of scenery, so I rated it a 2-4 out of 10. The lady in the General Store was nice enough to give us some ice for our water bottles and ice cream after our ride was a welcome relief. This stop on the old B&O RR was the largest cattle loading stop in WV in the early 1900s, according to an historical marker by the old depot.

Lovely local trail passing through well-kept backyards, fields, and woods. The trail parallels County Route 56 with some of it running directly next to the road. While the crushed-stone trail is easily rideable with a road bike, cyclists looking to make better time might prefer the asphault road. The trail, however, is shadier, more gradual, and often offers different views so it is well worth taking.

The improved trail stops at Mount Clare, but since there is little traffic on the road, I found that the road and trail together make a nice roundtrip from Clarksburg's Veterans' Park to Lost Creek. It will be great when the railroad right-of-way becomes an improved trail all the way to Clarksburg and beyond.

The Lost Creek trailhead is right off I-79 and features a nice gravel lot and the general store right next to the trail on Main Street in Lost Creek is a good place for snacks or lunch.

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