Caperton Rail-Trail

West Virginia

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Caperton Rail-Trail Facts

States: West Virginia
Counties: Monongalia
Length: 5.7 miles
Trail end points: Mon River Trail North (Star City) and Mon River Trail South (Morgantown)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017310

Caperton Rail-Trail Description

The central point of the Caperton Rail-Trail is located in Morgantown, known as the home of West Virginia University, the inspiration for a Joni Mitchell song and the birthplace of Don Knotts. Morgantown is 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 Caperton Rail-Trail is located at the heart of the trail system, spanning the north-south length of Morgantown and Star City. The paved rail-trail, named after a former West Virginia governor, parallels the river past retail businesses, West Virginia University, industrial areas and the back decks of eateries that cater to trail users.

Heading north out of Morgantown, the trail passes through several downtown parks, including Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park, West Virginia University's Core Arboretum and the Edith Barill Riverfront Park in Star City. The Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park in Morgantown is adjacent to a restored railway station, and is a vibrant hub of local activity, with a steady stream of walkers, runners, skaters and cyclists. The park is also the western endpoint of the Deckers Creek Trail, which heads east 19.5 miles to Reedsville.

At the Caperton Rail-Trail's northern end in Star City, continue along the river via the connecting Mon River Trail North to the Pennsylvania state line; south of Morgantown, the Caperton Rail-Trail links to the Mon River Trail South to access Marion County and Fort Prickett's State Park. All three trails follow the same former CSX rail line.

In 2020, the Mon River Rail-Trail system became an inductee into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.

Parking and Trail Access

Park at Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park in Morgantown. To reach the park from Interstate 68 west, take exit 7 and go 0.3 mile. Turn right on Count Road 857 south and go 1 mile. Turn left on US 119 (Mileground Road/North Willey Street). Go 3 miles and turn left as US 119 becomes High Street. Go 1 mile and turn right on Moreland Street. Hazel Ruby McQuain Park is in less than a quarter mile.

In Star City, parking can be found at Edith Barill Riverfront Park. To reach the park, take State Route 7 north from downtown Morgantown (Don Knotts Blvd./University Blvd./Beechhurst Ave./Monongahela Blvd.) to Star City.

Caperton Rail-Trail Reviews

The paved middle stretch of the Mon River Trail

This is a really nice, wide, well-maintained and smoothly paved portion of the larger Mon River Trail system, so, you can pick up a little speed between the crushed gravel southern and northern ends. The river is in view the entire length of the system, but here, you also ride along the edge of downtown Morgantown and the WVU campus. A few restaurants have covered patios that immediately abut the trail and a funny little single-car monorail runs overhead. There is more pedestrian traffic on this Caperton Trail portion, but not much (unless there's a festival going on). Enjoy this 5-mile stretch but keep going either south, north or both!

Access To Three Great Trails

We stayed on the waterfront in Morgantown and rode different trails over three days (June 15-17, 2021)...all accessed from the Caperton Trail. Day 1 we rode from Morgantown to Point Marion, PA along the Mon Trail North (about 26 miles RT). Day 2 we rode about 1/2 of the Decker Creek Trail (about 24 miles RT). Day 3 we rode the Mon Trail South to the Meredith tunnel (about 42 miles RT).
The folks who maintain the trails do an excellent job. We arrived after a severe thunderstorm the day before and the crews were busy cleaning/fixing the trails...Really Well Done!
The Mon Trails provide nice views of the river and you will see the dams and locks along the way. The Decker Creek Trail has some nice views of the creek and is cut through some rock formations that are very scenic. The Decker Creek trail has a bit of an incline as you ride from Morgantown to the ride back into Morgantown is easy.
Overall...great trails and Morgantown is a nice location to stay and has many restaurants and breweries to choose from. We will do this ride again and maybe cover the whole Decker Creek trail next time.

Surprisingly level trail for being in a very hilly town

If you choose a fall Saturday to go for a bike ride, expect a crowd on this trail. We found lots of pedestrians and few bikes until getting well north of Star City. Not sure if this is the norm or just that WVU was playing out of town and a pandemic is going on. The trail is fairly wide with asphalt in good condition making for a smooth ride. We rode from Deckers Creek north to connect to the Mon River Trail. We passed a couple riverfront parks, one with an amphitheater, and saw a riverside Ti Chi class in a pavilion. The only downer on this part of the trail is passing a water treatment plant with a multitude of gnats (this was early November too). Star City is a great rest spot - real restroom, bike repair stand, and playground too. We saw several parking areas at the riverfront parks. We parked a couple miles away on the Deckers Creek Trail at Marilla Park in Sabraton. This trail is perfect if you just want a short ride or if you want a long ride too as it connects to other trails to the north, south and east. Definitely will visit this trail again.

Nice views

The Hazel Ruby Mcquaid Park is under construction,so we parked by the jeep dealer there is some parking next to it. We went left & followed the river.Packed stone after awhile,got alittle muddy,if heavy rains, could get messey.We rode 10 miles one way & 10 back. They say trail is 6 miles,maybe connects to another trail because we could have kept going. Was a couple of small water falls. We enjoyed the trail.


Okay Trail

Ran here in July while on vacation.Trail was well maintained,friendly people,scenery was just okay.Expected more views of river.Would not travel a great distance to run this trail.

Love this trail!

One of my go-to trails, this trail can be accessed at several sites and will take you through all parts of Morgantown and beyond, right alongside the Mon River. Love taking a "shortcut" through the Arboretum. Once I walked along and heard behind me a rockfall, which reminded me of where we get the name Monongahela, "falling banks." Some of the trail is gravel, other parts are paved.

5 trails in one

The Caperton Trail is a 6 mile paved rail-trail that runs along the Mon River in Morgantown. It is very wide and is great for walking, running or cycling. The trail dissect the Core Arboretum, which is a quiet nature area. If you're in downtown Morgantown, the best access to the trail would be at Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park. However, if you don't want to fight the traffic (and there's a bunch of traffic if school is in), there is a very nice trailhead in Star City at Edith Barill Riverfront Park.

To the north, the trail attaches to Mon River Trail North. This is a limestone rail-trail that runs 6 miles to the Pennsylvania border. This trail is very well maintained. If you're adventurous, you can continue on to Point Marion on the Sheepskin Trail. However, the Sheepskin Trail is currently just a narrow cinder path.

To the south, the trail attaches to Mon River Trail South. This is a limestone rail-trail that runs an additional 17 miles south to Prickett's Fort. This trail is a nice ride and there is no reason not to take it. That being said, there are two issues. First the trail is roughly 17 miles long and there are no facilities on the trail. If you have the philosophy that every tree is a potential restroom, then no problem. However, my wife does not share that philosophy, so this was not one of her favorite trails. Second, the maintenance of the trail is sporadic. All of the trail is crushed limestone, but there are sections that are just a tractor path (two narrow paths with grass in the middle) or the trail itself is very narrow because the vegetation is creeping in on the sides. Also, there are occasional spots where the trail is just hard dirt. This isn't a problem unless you hit one of these spots before it has had a chance to dry out from a recent rain. I am not describing the above to discourage anyone from riding this trail. I just want you to know what to expect.

From Prickett's Fort you can travel on the MC Trail (2.5 miles paved) into Fairmont. This trail includes a lighted tunnel.

All of these trails are flat and an easy ride. My wife and I have bicycled these trails and found it worth the effort.

If you're really energetic, the last connecting trail can be accessed from the Caperton Trail at Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park. This would be the Decker's Creek trail. This is a limestone rail-trail that adds an additional 19 miles to the system. The majority of this trail is up hill at a 2% grade going out, so it's going to be a little work to get to the end of this section. However, if you're on a bicycle, the ride coming back will be exhilarating. We haven't bicycled this trail because we just ran out of time.

Very pleasant experience

We spent five days in and about Morgantown and, luckily, discovered this trail quite by accident. We drove from our hotel and walked approximately 5 miles in the morning. Non-stressful and with enjoyable scenery.

Awesome Little Trail!

This is my favorite small rail-trail. I park at the little park next to Waterfront Jeep (car dealer). The ride to Star City is as pleasant and diverse as could be, It covers a wide variety of surroundings covering everything including upscale urban, industrial sites, to a densely wooded arboretum.

I highly recomend the hospitality of the trailside restaurant and pub, Mountaineer Brewing Co., among other trailside eateries.

If a longer ride is preferred, it connects to the North Mon Trail which makes for a twenty mile round-trip. It also connects to the Decker's Creek trail, and the South Mon trail.

Definitely a five Star little trail. July 27th, 2015

Paved part of Mon River Trail

The Caperton trail is a 6mi paved trail through downtown Morgantown that connects the North and South Mon River trails. The Decker Creek trail intersects about midway. It is flat and a mix of sun and shade. Well maintained.

MonRiver Rail Trail North

North on the trail goes to Pt. Marion, PA If you start from Riverfront Park, Star City, it is about 6.5 miles, easy ride for moderate bikers, shaded, wildlife and up close look at a power plant. If you go into Pt. Marion the last mile isn't trail finished (coming someday)a bit bumpy but passable. Once you leave the trail path there is a great community park by the river (left side) and from there you can make an easy loop around town and see the confluence where the Mon and Cheat Rivers meet. There are several restaurants including Apple Annies (need to crossover 119)with a more than you should eat menu(apple dumplings).

The Wharf District, Morgantown, WV.

Hello Everyone,

Today was yet another excellent day to snap some pics for you. I started south of Morgantown while still remaining in city limits. I wanted to supply photos of the Wharf District of the Caperton Trail. Being there’s so few on here so far. Until now. Haha. I’ve not been to this part of the trail in nearly 10 years. Only because there were lots of goings-on during the renovation of this area. So I stayed clear. I must say I’m quite impressed with what’s been finished thus far. I remember when the buildings were near total dilapidation. Long ago when I learned of a Rails-To-Trails project & Morgantown was planning to revitalize that area, I admit, I was a skeptic & even a scoffer. Well, the trail went in, the area got cleaned up, then buildings got a total make-over. So here it is 10 years later & everything appears to be somewhat completely finished around the Wharf District’s trail entranceway. Front & back. And again, I must repeat how CLEAN everything is. The whole area has a home-like welcome. Even the riverbank is clean where fishing is permitted. Twenty years ago everything was grown up & littered horribly. So you can imagine what I thought when I seen everything in such near immaculate spotlessness. There’s even a Subway restaurant, an Olivarios & Synergy bistros with backdoor patios right ON the trail, as for any bicycler, skater, pedestrian, fisher, boater, or what-have-you can just walk on in & make their order. I got a few nice pics of people eating lunch, they seemed very relaxed enjoying their food & company. Being one who enjoys sitting on the river for hours fishing, I had to visit the mouth of the Deckers Creek under the old train trestle, now a footbridge for the trail. I could hear the rumble of the dam, people talking on the trail as they went by, & life happening in a distance towards town. I just might be here tonight with the fishing gear. Lol. I eventually made my way out of there, heading back to the car, while still snapping pics. Got a few goodies of the dam as well. I tried to get as many points-of-view of everything to provide you with a good visual idea as to how it is here without removing too much curiosity. I submitted SEVERAL., but pictures can only tell so much. Being here is so much better.


The pulse of Caperton Trail, Morgantown, WV.

Today I set out to snap a few pictures. At least while we have a few days of summer left. Being the most perfect day & being hungry for really good food, I soon grew in the mood to dine outdoors at the Wings Ole restaurant, right on the Caperton Trail, at the very hub of trail action. Deckers Creek Trail begins here too. It parallels Deckers Creek & route 7 east clear into Masontown WV. The riverfront district in Morgantown is where one can feel it’s pulse. Traffic rolling over the Westover bridge coming in & out of town, buses pulling in & out of the city’s public transportation terminal, people walking, jogging, skating, riding bikes, hanging out on the park benches gazing at the Hazel Ruby McQuian Pavilion (a stage for city, county, & state musicians to perform), city workers doing their thing, & if you’re lucky, you might catch a photographer snapping pics of a model sporting a new line of clothing for a local business. Such as I did today. I walked in the restaurant, ordered my food, & sat down on the restaurant patio. Thankfully the owner was there & granted me permission to snap pics from his establishment. The view was merely perfect to say the least for this sort of setting. My food soon arrived. I sat there soaking in all the senses, tastes of the food & drink, mixed smells of the restaurant, the river, & city life, sounds of town shuffling, warmth of the dry day, & the sun just illuminating everything, revealing how the entire area is so clean. Satisfied with my fill of it all, the chief came out to clean my table as I began to snap pics. I left the restaurant wandering around the park area getting some rather nice images. Please enjoy any that might get posted ( I‘ll try to have more submitted to give a better idea as to what‘s all there). Pictures can’t compare for actually being there. Morgantown has really went all out to make this an enjoyable place for social events. So come on down & have an adventure. You’ll love my hometown.


It's ok, but I like it better out of city limits.

I'm a guy who loves to fish in near solitude away from the crowds. I've packed up the little yellow garden wagon with all my fishing gear & walked 2.5 miles south from Uffington to the Hiledbrand Dam, & 2 miles north from Little Falls to the dam. So well worth the hike. The scenery is so surreal, especially on a misty morning. You'd think there were no other people around so far outta town, but there are an array of bicyclers & joggers who wave to you with smiles as they pass by. My biggest hope is someone will buy a large parcel of land & create a camping area next to the trail where paddle boats & bikes will be up for rent to explore the river mon. Most of the land is privately owned & thus is forbidden to use the trail to access camping spots. A BIG NO-NO. However, the dams are easily accessable to fish as long as one might want. Just remember to respect the land, keep it clean, respect others, & most definately wear a helmit when riding a bike. It's just a darn good thing to do for your safety. Come on down & enjoy the trail.

Surface is asphalt.

The surface for the Caperton Trail, and all the trail within city limits of Morgantown & Star City, is asphalt. Outside of city limits, the rest of the 50-mile trail system is smooth, crushed limestone.

This trail links to a total of 50 miles of rail-trail

The Caperton Trail is just one segment of 4 trails, all built on linking abandoned rail lines. It links to the Mon River Trail North & South, and Deckers Creek Trail. Good, smooth, flat, surfaces. Nice community of trail users. Helmets are required in WV for bicyclists over age 14 (I think); and in Morgantown City Limits, helmets are required for bicyclists of all ages. The police have been known to give tickets.

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