Brooke Pioneer Trail

West Virginia

17 Reviews

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Brooke Pioneer Trail Facts

States: West Virginia
Counties: Brooke
Length: 6.7 miles
Trail end points: Charles St & 2nd St (Wellsburg) and Wheeling Heritage Trails at Warwood Ave/WV 2 & Stone Shannon (Short Creek)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6210912

Brooke Pioneer Trail Description


The Brooke Pioneer Trail rolls along the woodsy eastern bank of the Ohio River, a waterway that once carried early settlers’ flatboats to lands in the west. The trail provides access to the bridge’s shared-used path that will carry walkers and bicyclists westward into Ohio.

About the Route

The paved trail runs for 6.7 miles between the southern city limits of Wellsburg and the Ohio County line at Short Creek, where it meets the Wheeling Heritage Trails. Both trails are paved and provide 18 miles of scenic walking or bicycling along the Ohio River.

The northern end of the trail begins at the southern limits of Wellsburg and the southern terminus of the 2.2-mile Wellsburg Yankee Trail that passes through downtown. Continuing south from Wellsburg, you’ll cross Buffalo Creek on a restored railroad trestle paralleling WV 2.

In about a mile, you’ll come to the Wellsburg Bridge, which opened in September 2023. There is a connector from the trail to the bridge, which has a shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge leads to Brilliant, Ohio on the northwest side of the river.

The trail is wedged between WV 2 and the Ohio River for its entire length. The mostly wooded corridor obscures the view of both the road and the river, though occasional openings reveal vistas of the powerful river and the hilly western shore. The woods are home to deer, ground-hogs, and other critters.

The southern end of the trail is at a pedestrian bridge over Short Creek, where the route seamlessly continues south as the Wheeling Heritage Trails.

There are pit toilets at Ruby Park (south of Beech Bottom) and at Ironmen Park (at Short Creek Rd). Please note that there may not be toilet paper available.


At its northern end, the Brooke Pioneer Trail connects to the southern terminus of the 2.2-mile Wellsburg Yankee Trail. At its southern end, the Brooke Pioneer Trail connects seamlessly to the Wheeling Heritage Trails.

Trail History

History buffs will be interested to learn that human habitation along the river dates back thousands of years. Scientists excavating an earthen mound in the town of Beech Bottom, about 3.5 miles south of Wellsburg, found artifacts dating to 400 BC. The town was also home to a fort that guarded the frontier during the Revolutionary War.

Those looking for reminders of the area’s industrial past won’t be dis­appointed. The trail skirts the edge of a handful of manufacturing properties between Wellsburg and Windsor Heights. Among them is the former site of the Windsor Power Plant—a onetime electricity generator for the region—and its company town of 100 homes, all of which are gone today. On the opposite shore, the large cooling tower and smokestack of Ohio’s coal-fired Cardinal Power Plant interrupt the views of the rolling wooded landscape.

Interpretive signs along the trail describe its origins as a southern spur of the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis (PCC & StL) Railroad, which was commonly called the Panhandle Railroad. The corridor between Weirton and Benwood opened in 1878, carrying passengers until 1951 and freight until 1981. Crews pulled the track in 1987, and a decade passed before trail construction began.

Parking and Trail Access

The Brooke Pioneer Trail runs between Charles St & 2nd St (Wellsburg) and the Wheeling Heritage Trails at Warwood Ave/WV 2 & Stone Shannon (Short Creek). 

In Wellsburg, park just south of the trestle off SR 2 south of town, beside a gas station. Limited parking is also available just off the trail in Beech Bottom (WV 2 & Carolina Ave).

In Windsor Heights, park just south of the bridge off SR 2 at Stone Shannon Road. Use caution when crossing the highway to access the trail.

In Short Creek, parking is available by Ironmen Park (west side of WV 2 at Short Creek Road/CR 2/2).

Visit the TrailLink map for detailed directions.

Brooke Pioneer Trail Reviews

Trail is open!

Trail is now open from end to end after bridge construction. Nicely paved trail. The entry spur to the new bridge over Ohio River is still closed.

Decent if coming from the Wheeling Heritage Trails

We rode on this as an extension of our Wheeling Heritage Trails ride. It's a seamless transition. The asphalt on the Brooke Pioneer is just a bit less smooth though. There were a lot of leaves and branches down when we rode. Somewhere north of Beech Bottom we came upon a trail closed sign but the trail looked open so we rode on. Maybe a mile later the trail changed to large gravel and we could see construction equipment on the trail ahead so we turned around. With the construction I would only ride this if you're already riding the Wheeling Heritage trail.

still closed

I parked at N 40.26459 W 080.61501 which is the northern terminus. The trail is closed about 0.8 mile south. Guess I am going to Wheeling!

Alert - trail closure

The first 2.5 miles of trail south of Wellsburg are closed as of June 2020. A bridge is being built across the river. The trail is torn up and being used for contractor access. Bridge completion is expected in 2022, and the trail will need to be rebuilt/restored.

Route 2 is two lanes with narrow shoulders and a hill in either direction. The speed limit is 55, 45 through the construction zone. I felt comfortable riding on the roadway, but many people won't. I wouldn't recommend that casual or beginner cyclists ride the road.


First time on this trail

I parked in Wellsburg and biked toward Wheeling since this is the direction I was traveling from. I had a little trouble finding the parking lot and the start of the trail isn't visible from the road. The lot is a sharp left turn into a dirt area and is not well marked. After I got on the trail I noticed locals parked in a gas station a little beyond the trail head. The trail is a pleasant easy ride on asphalt that is tree covered and shaded most of the way. There are nice views of the Ohio River along the way. There is a Porta John at the opposite trail head about 7 miles down the trail. Though the trail ends at about 7 miles it is still paved through Wheeling. This part of the trail runs parallel to a highway but that isn't a big problem it is worth the ride to see the locks.

Use caution on the Brook trail there are two sections that have sink holes. One is very clearly marked but is dangerous to ride through the other is really just a big dip but isn't marked and can sneak up on you. I still recommend the trail for a bike or nice run/walk.

First time walk on this fine trail

Wonderful view of the Ohio River and nicely paved trail. Hubby and I walked it today from Wellsburg, 4 miles out and 4 miles back. Plenty of benches and historical markers. But, NO PORTAPOTTY OR RESTROOM!!! Kinda ruined it for me!

Brooke/ Wheeling Heritage Trails

Started at the Pike Island Locks and Dam. My son and I went north and turned around where the Brooke trail veers around the old Wheeling-Pitt property. The Wheeling side was in good shape (a lot of blown garbage from the nearby roadway). On the Brooke section, plenty of benches, rest stops, and one historical section which was interesting. Well marked, Brooke side had downed trees on path (small ones). Enjoyable day, not bad on bad knees.

Cool trail!

This is a great addition to the Wheeling trail....hopefully they continue to connect it to make even longer trails. I think more people would try biking if we are offered these beautiful trails to ride.

Best part of the 3 trails

We traveled to the area from eastern PA to ride the Wellsburg Yankee, Brooke Pioneer and Wheeling Heritage Trails.

Of the 3 trails, this was the most appealing. The trail had some lovely spots, there was evidence that people were making an effort to beautify the trail in spots and the asphalt was in good shape.

I wish that the other trails were as nice.

Trail was very well kept. Little chilly today, but still a nice ride. Strong wind coming back from Pike Lock and Dam back to Wellsburg. Overall very nice day.

Brooke Pioneer-Wheeling Trails

It is a beautiful day and I was in the mood for a new bike trail, so I took Rt. 50 out of Bridgeville and hopped on the Brooke Pioneer Trail in Wellsburg. That was a beautiful drive and the trail was also beautiful. The first 5 or so miles are heavily wooded, beautiful scenery, beautiful views of the river. After that it was kind of out in the open, along Rt. 2. I went to just past the lock and dam, then turned around. I would have gone farther, but I was fighting a strong wind! There is an observation deck at the lock if you want to watch. All in all a beautiful, relaxing day!

Brook Pioneer Trail - Wheeling Trail

Did 23.5 miles on this two trails from Wellsburg, WV to Warwood, WV. Very nice trail with several short hills (about 10 feet rises). Does have expansion joints so can be irritating on your backside if you don't have a comfortable seat. Shade and Sunny - so take your suntan lotion or the back of your neck will be sunburned. Outhouse - you need to bring TP. Very nice bike trail


I rode my bike yesterday afternoon south from the Wellsburg outskirts (the parking lot by Smith Oil) to some large silo things about 8 miles and it is an awesome trail! It is very smooth & flat and easy to ride on. The smell of honeysuckle is heavenly wonderful for about 75% of the trail and there are tall (5 - 6') queen anne's lace weeds and daisy weeds(?) and other field flowers along the way. Not to mention the grand OHIO River along 1 side and WV route 2 on the other. The brush and trees are grown tall so it wasn't always a clear view of the river, but you could see barges and boats floating along. The trail is mostly shady with some sunny open areas. There are some signs along the trail about the Elm tree and eagles and the train history. There was an "outhouse" rest area about half way down the trail (thank goodness!) and alot of benches and trash cans along the trail. I noticed how they take good care of the trail - it was clean and weeds were cut back and mowed - thank you to whoever does that!! Even though all of the honeysuckle were in abundance, there were no bees/bugs. The only bugs I encountered were the typical gnat groups I find on every trail anyhow!! The trail was not busy either - i passed about 6 groups/persons in the 2 hours on the trail. This is truly a wonderful trail but i live 2 hours away!! Plus gas was cheaper here in WV than OH so i filled er up!! Happy trails :)

Traces of Antiquity - Brooke Pioneer Trail - Northern Half

Observation and documentation of railroad heritage is my game, and the northern end of the Brooke Pioneer Trail gives one a double treat! This once Pennsylvania Railroad's 26.5-mile "Wheeling Secondary Track" between Weirton Junction Tower (Weirton) and Benwood, WV was opened in 1878. The line saw its last passenger train in April 1951 (PRR), its last freight train in 1981 (Conrail), and its track was removed in 1987. Construction of today's trail was begun in 1997. The entire north-south length of this trail follows the Ohio River, but offers a wide variety of visual experiences. It's a wonderful trail. It is new, smooth, asphalt, and flat. The north end of this trail begins as the "Yankee Trail" southward out of Wellsburg, WV, a nice little town. Stock up on snacks and supplies at the Dollar General at the north end of the trail along WV-2. Parking at the trail head at the north end of the gas station on 2 at the south end of Wellsburg, I called this Mile 1.0 (from Central Wellsburg). Starting south, the first thing you will note is a short section of carefully preserved track in the grade crossing behind the gas station, and that wonderful "Panhandle Railroad Company" plaque depicting all of the information which I began this review with. The old railbed drops down below paralleling Route 2, and almost immediately you see three levels of ground travel... Your trail, Highway 2 above, and between them, two miles of the roadbed of the old Panhandle Traction Company, the 1901-1936 interurban trolley line which connected Wellsburg and Wheeling. Moving south a short distance, another plaque points out one of two (supposedly - I saw only one) stone with concrete deck cap trolley bridges, this one spanning a stream river inlet. The embankment is high, and note several locations of cut stone retaining wall between the trail and the trolley bed. This is quite impressive. The power line atop it has saved the trolley grade here. At MP 1.7, a 381-year-old American Elm tree, supposedly the largest one east of the Mississippi River! Around Mile 3, you break out along the open highway, but the trail very quickly ducks back under tree cover along the Ohio River, and divorces itself from soon distant WV-2. The silence is a welcome treat, and you are on your own for a peaceful run along the mighty Ohio for several miles. 4.2 miles south of Wellsburg, watch carefully on your east side for the sole survivor of once 26 classic cast iron trademarks of the Pennsylvania Railroad's century of presence on this line... The railroad's Milepost 12, which measured distance from this secondary branch's connection with the former Pittsburgh-Saint Louis "Panhandle Main Line" at "Weirton Junction" Tower, 12 miles north. That line east from the pre-1985 tower site is today's Panhandle Trail (another trail beauty!). Then, 2.6 miles south of Milepost 12, you will see a rusty phone box on the river side of the trail. This was the site of the former "KR" Block-Limit, an unmanned "station" where train crews would need to call "Rockville" Tower, on the east side of Mingo Junction, for permission to travel into either railroad "block" or section from this point either north or south. The trail breaks out of its solitary running shortly afterward to closely parallel widening WV-2, and my southward sojourn ended at the Tunnel Ridge River Loadout facility, 8.2 miles south of Wellsburg. I'd like to document my finds from this point south, to and through Wheeling, at some future point. I did ride this southern half of the trail from this point south a year ago, before the trail was completed into Wellsburg. I can tell you that, as the trail drops away from Route 2 closing in on Wheeling, the classic suburban backyards and industrial remnants you ride through down there are just fascinating! At the site of the old Pennsy station, just south of your passing under Interstate-70, there is a wonderful display plaque with images and information about the Wheeling depot and its once-mighty Pennsylvania Railroad System! The concrete "shell" you see near the sign is the basement floor baggage room of the old PRR station, which was, sadly, demolished years ago. Compare this structure remnant to the plaque photo! The Brooke Pioneer Trail is one fine example of how a great trail can be built, while retaining the sense that this was indeed once part of a classic railroad system! - Rich Ballash, Latrobe PA

Greater Wheeling and Brooke Pioneer Trails connected

May 7, 2011, GREAT NEWS!! Started a ride North from Wheeling Heritage Port and discovered that I could ride all the was to Wellsburg.. The Brooke Pioneer Trail is now complete. The trail is completely paved and very flat.

Gap is now closed - new asphalt surface is finished - outstanding .....

Was there today (Sunday 11/21/2010) and walked a little of the new section that completes this trail. What a good looking smooth flat surface. Seen alot of people enjoying the day here on the trail. Were glad to see this come together and plan to really enjoy it. The trail is about say 6 3/4 miles long now, but links to other trails at each end. I'll save the details for you to discover when you come check it out in person.

P.S. Check out the pictures of the new pavement.....

Walk, Ride, Exercise! - Do it all here....

Smooth, flat, paved asphalt rail trail right next to the Ohio River. The northern section has a small parking lot by a gas station south of the city of Wellsburg, WV just off State Rt. 2. From this parking lot you can go north into the city of Wellsburg via the "Yankee Trail" which starts just over the "Buffalo Creek" bridge. Or you can go south on the Pioneer Trail for around 3 miles. At this point is where you can expect a planned extension to connect the trail to its other end point about another 3 miles ahead. Right now there is a "Gap" there in the trail. Right now you must take State Rt. 2 south the 3 miles thru the town of Beech Bottom to the other end of the "Gap". There the paved trails starts up again. At this point the Pioneer Trails continues another say, short distance to the "Short Creek" bridge where its connects to another paved trail, (Wheeling Heritage Trail) that takes you clear down to the city of "Wheeling" WV. a nice ride.
You can find parking at the "Pike Island Dam" off of State Rt. 2 also.

Historical signage along the trail.
Plenty to see along the river.
Nice place to relax, Picnic Area along the trail.
Park Benches placed every so often to take a rest.
Check it out for youself - write a reveiw - give your opinion

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