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The WV Route 9 Bike Path follows the busy thoroughfare from Martinsburg to the Charles Town/Ranson area. Note that the path runs through open space with little to no shade. While the southern portion of the trail is fairly flat, the northern half is somewhat hilly. Stops along the way highlight points of interest.
Parking is available by the Eastern Regional Jail on Grapevine Road near the trail's northern tip in Martinsburg and at the Currie Road exit in Ranson at the trail's southern end.
I have always wanted to do this trail. Driving from Berkeley Medical Center, Martinsburg, WV to Jefferson Medical Center, Ranson, WV may times, I have looked to the left and right on Route 9, thinking, I really want to do that trail. Today I got that chance. Starting in Ranson, WV trail head, I made my way through the 10 miles to the trail's end. (Note the parking lot is across the exit and not at the trail head,but it worked.) Not quite to Martinsburg, but about 2 miles shy. The trail is hilly and a bit challenging, not the worst I have ever done and it made a great workout. The ride is in the open; however, since today was a cool fall day, that did not matter. The leaves were beautiful, the ride great; although, a bit noisy with Route 9 following all the way. My only complaint is there are NO bathroom facilities. A "Job Johnnie" at either end would have made the ride more comfortable. At the "Martinsburg side" there is a Gas station about two blocks to the right of the trail. The only downfall is crossing busy route 9. All in all: Glad I did this ride!
As noted by others, there's very little shade. Some rolling hills to be aware of.
I read the reviews thinking this would be a great Sunday afternoon ride. I was wrong. Riding at the gym did not prepare me for the hills. The other reviews were right about no shade. I did not make it nearly as far as I wanted. The pavement was great.
I ride this trail fairly often as it is the closest bike trial to my house. Be sure to stop at the road crossings. You can't see the road traffic coming at many of the crossings. For novice riders, the informative historic markers along the way provide a great excuse for taking a break. For experienced riders, the 21 mile round trip excursion is a nice quick workout.
I am a beginner and my husband and I biked 6 miles north from Ranson with no huge difficulty. There were some hilly areas, but nothing too overwhelming in that stretch. Bringing lots of water was helpful, along with applying liberal amounts of sunscreen! The note about no shade is no joke!! We are local, so we will definitely ride again!
A great trail in the panhandle of WV. The trail is roughly 10.5 miles from one end to the other with a 500 TGIF (total gain in feet). Max grade is roughly 5%. Highly recommended for all abilities.
My husband and I biked this trail last fall. He had biked it before with a friend and said it had some tough hills. It was a nice ride except for the fact there is hardly any shade. We went on a warmer than usual day so that made a difference I am sure. We stopped on the way back at Kings for lunch, bathroom break and to fill our water bottles. It was a great work out especially pedaling up Opequon Hill on the way back! This is one I would try at least once if you enjoy biking and getting some good exercise.
I started riding this year and have done multiple trips on this path. I have only done the northern portion (Short Road to Martinsburg) once because the hills are killer, and like I said, I am a new rider. However I have done Short Road to the Charles Town end many times (14.3 miles round trip) and Kearneysville/480 to Charles town (9 miles round trip) often. What a great ride. Correct, there is no shade but both of these trips are rather short (an hour or less) so just bring some water. The path is in great shape and everyone is respectful (walkers, joggers, dog walkers, etc.). I highly recommend this when you need a quick ride or need a ride with no mud! Watch out at the road crossings, visibility is not the best.
I moved to West Virginia back in November of 2012, and was really looking forward to spring rolling in to go riding (I don't bike during the winter). I had heard about this path being paved with asphalt, which sounded like a nice alternative to the gravel-coated C&O Towpath, which I can hop on in Williamsport, MD. The month of May finally arrived and I had my first ride on this path. I liked it, and I have ridden it twice now.
I started off at the Martinsburg end of the trail. There is a very small parking lot there (exactly 10 parking spaces). The first 5 miles of this trail is mainly hills. So, if you don't like hills at all, this trail is not for you. I'd only had a couple rides since spring had hit, and I was not ready for the hills. There was one particular hill that's a killer, and when I hit the top of it, I took my first and only rest on the ride. What's difficult about a number of these hills is they begin after road intersections where you have to come to a full stop. So it's not like you have the momentum of coming down another hill, and flying up the next. It appears these first 5 miles you are climbing. I knew this because my ears kept popping. One thing I did notice was that I passed hardly anyone on the hilly section of the trail...I didn't start seeing other bikers/joggers/walkers til I hit the flattened second half of the trail.
The second half of the ride down to Ranson is mainly flat with a couple inclines. not too bad though. It should be noted that this trail parallels Route 9, so the road is very visible (and loud), and off to your immediate side. But the trail is separate from the road, so you don't have to worry about cars until you come to a couple various road crossings. The trail also has absolutely no shade at all, so I'm sure it'd be a scorching ride in summer heat. I got sunburned on both my rides so far. Also, very important...BRING WATER! There is only one place to grab water, and that is The Black Dog Coffee Company, which is right off the trail, about 2.5 miles from the end in Ranson. Quaint little coffee cafe! The folks that work there are super nice, and they have bottled water in a fridge in the back. This was a welcome treat to my warm bottle attached to my bike. The trail ends right on an overpass. You can cross the street and drive over to the Park'n'Ride and get a really nice view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For this is truly the ONLY nice view on the entire trail, so it was a nice treat to see at the end.
The ride back to Martinsburg, took me about 1.25 hours (10 miles). I'm thinking it's slightly downhill. It goes alot quicker. The thing I like about this trail is it's a bit of a workout. It's not a flat scenic trail for Sunday drivers. It's for someone who likes the fair share of hills (and feeling his thighs burn a bit) mixed with some flat spaces. My only criticism is I wished this trail extended directly all the way down to Charles Town. That would have been nice, because it's always convenient to bike through an area with little places to eat and rest.
Oh, and before you get back to the Martinsburg parking lot there is one more killer hill to go up...so be prepared.
I have walked a couple of portions of this trail and found it pleasant, however, in the early morning it is best because it is cooler! One thing that the blurb doesn't say is that access to this trail is very easy. I accessed it from Short Rd and went toward Martinsburg--very nice. The hills are good for walking and break the monotony of being by the highway. I noticed between Ranson and Martinsburg there are several points of access, most of which are on roads off of rte 9. I would definitely recommend this trail--but early morning and late evening!
The surface of the trail is great, all paved. There is no shade though
and no prospects of getting any, as I have not seen
any new trees planted. Living nearby, I rode it to completion
and back again, but it really doesn't GO anywhere. It starts
too far up RT 9 on the Charles Town end to be of
value for commuting on that end ( you have to drive to
get on the trail) and it stops too far short of Martinsburg
on the other end. It runs along side of a freeway so even though
an attempt was made to add photo boards of historic
properties, there is little to actually see that makes
getting in the car worth while. The nearby C & O canal
is much better.
Two friends and I biked the length of this trail with the goal of finding 50 geocaches along the way. It took from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm to complete the ride along with our stopping to search for a geocache about every .2 miles and no lunch break. We did pause for about 15 minutes during a torrential downpour and took shelter under a Rt. 9 underpass. Of course we were already soaked due to a steady rain that we rode in for the previous 90 minutes. I found the trail enjoyable and the fact that it is very near Rt. 9 was not an issue as I was never put off by traffic noise. The terrain is varied, but nothing too strenuous for this out-of-shape 56 year old. There are plenty of farms, orchards, fields, etc to provide interesting scenery. There is plenty evidence of deer along the trail and we saw a startled red fox jump up, cross the trail and run offf into a cornfield. For Geocachers, prepare to do a lot of walking up and down banks to retrieve the many geocaches. I would advise bikers to take plenty of water as there is nowhere on the trail to fill up although we did manage to go off the path, across a road to the DMV office and take advantage of their water fountain. We started at the Martinsburg end which has a few more hills leaving the flatter terrain for later in the day. We ended up finding 48 caches along the trail and picked up the remaining ones we needed for our goal at a nearby shopping center. All in all a very pleasant ride especially on an overcast July day.
Had the opportunity to run most and bike all of this trail over the Thanksgiving Day holiday as it was quite nice outside. The first thing to note is that there are no amenities along the trail or at the trailheads. So, no porta johns or water. There are shopping areas nearby at either end if you need to take care of business beforehand. But, you're out of luck if you need something along the way. Fortunately, being only 10 miles long, it's not too terribly far if you have a mechanical bike issue. Now on one day, ran a good amount of the trail starting from the southern trailhead. Parked at the Park 'n Ride just after getting off of Route 9 at the Currie Lane exit. Plenty of parking here, but again, no facilities. The trail description is accurate stating that about the southern half and perhaps a bit more is lightly rolling to flat. There are several road crossings along the way, but most of these roads have light traffic on them except for route 480. That is a main road into Kearneysville and Shepherdstown. While you should stop and look for cars at the crossings, you have be much more careful here. I turned around just as I was getting into more rolling terrain. The next day biking, I started from the northern trailhead. As indicated, this is near the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg. This parking lot is small and only has maybe 10 spaces. Still, there was only 1 other car when I pulled in and 3 others when I got back. Now the northern section definitely has a few hills. These aren't overly difficult and they don't last long. However, I almost didn't realize I was coming up to a crossing after coming down one of them. The caution markings for this hill needed to be prior to where they are. The path is also along a few low traffic volume streets for short distances close to the northern trailhead. This isn't a big deal, but you do have to be aware for a bit of any traffic when you're on them. The northern section of the path is actually wider than the southern part, I'd say by a good 2-3 feet. So lots of room! Good pavement along nearly all the way with no cracks or holes, which shows how new this is. There were gravel and debris (some glass) along the two underpasses you have to go through, though. In addition to the parking indicated, there are a couple of other gravel areas which folks use, particularly one along route 480. Rating this trail - I would give it a higher rating of 4 or maybe even 5 because I did enjoy running/riding it. However, the lack of amenities detract from this nice trail. While the historic markers are a nice touch, I think folks would rather have benches to sit on (there weren't any) as well as perhaps a few shade places. Definitely some sort of water and/or porta johns, particularly at the northern trailhead where the parking area was made just for trail use. I can see this would get quite hot in the summer time as well since there's no shade. Now it didn't really bother me, but I think other folks might be bothered by the traffic nearby too. So, if one is looking for a quiet trail, this isn't it. Still, all and all, a decent trail to get some running or biking on in the Charles Town to Martinsburg area. While there are a couple of other nicer trails that are a bit closer to me, I'll probably be back when I want to do something different. I submitted a few photos as well.
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