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Morgantown is known as the home of West Virginia University, the inspiration for a Joni Mitchell song and the birthplace of Don Knotts. But it’s also known for its extensive rail-trail system along the Monongahela River—one of a few American rivers that flows north—and its tributaries.
The Mon River Trail is the highlight of its impressive trail complex. It exists in two segments linked by the Caperton Trail. The northern component of the trail is arguably the most scenic. Beginning in Star City at a junction with the Caperton Trail, the Mon River Trail North quickly enters dense woodlands at the river’s edge. The trail courses northward through this scenic environment on a former CSX rail corridor for 6 miles until its abrupt end at the Pennsylvania state line.
A short segment of the developing Sheepskin Rail-Trail connects to the Mon River Trail North in Port Marion, Pennsylvania. When that trail is fully built out it will allow for a breathtaking journey from West Virginia to the famous Great Allegheny Passage.
The southern segment (also called Mon River Trail South) is the longer one and begins where the paved Caperton Trail becomes crushed stone at the southern edge of Morgantown. From there, it meanders for nearly 18 miles along a former CSX rail line to Prickett’s Fort State Park. The trail lazily winds through a wooded river valley with many scenic river views, occasional waterfalls and a variety of wildflowers in the spring and autumn.
At the Mon River Trail South’s southern end at Prickett’s Fort State Park, pick up the Marion County Trail (MCTrail) to reach Fairmont.
Another rail-trail connecting in Morgantown is the Deckers Creek Trail, which climbs out of the valley and heads 19 miles southeast to Reedsville along Class VI rapids.
In 2020, the Mon River Rail-Trail system became an inductee into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.
For the north segment, parking is available along the Caperton Trail in Star City at Edith Barill Riverfront Park; travel north on the paved trail a short distance to reach the Mon River Trail North's southern end. To access the park from Morgantown, take US 19/State Route 7 north to Star City. Exit at Boyers Avenue just before the highway crosses the Monongahela River. Take the first left onto Leeway Street and loop around next to the lumber company. A large parking lot is located adjacent to the river, just ahead.
For the southern segment, park at the Uffington boat dock, off of County Route 73, where Interstate 79 crosses the river. Parking is also available at the southern end at Prickett's Fort State Park.
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