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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.
What a gem! The greater Morgantown area is so lucky to have this amazing trail system! It will be so nice when this trail is connected to the North Bend Rail Trail! This trail will be a major part of the 238 mile long Parkersburg to Pittsburgh Trail. I can’t wait until the trails from Clarksburg, Shinnston, Fairmont, and Morgantown are all connected!
The trail is is excellent condition. Hard packed gravel for most of the was with a lot a scenic areas. We rode up and back to Morgantown and joined another part of the trail totally about 52 round trip. Nice bars in Morgantown. The trail was paved in the Morgantown area and didn’t notice and hard grades. There two other section that I would like to do. Maybe next time.
Only a few places towards the shinnston end are not blacktop very nice ride do recommend
The trail is in 2 sections. A north and south section. In between these 2 portions is Morgantowns' downtown Caperton Trail. You can ride the entire Mon River Trail by using the 6 mile Caperton Trail as a connector. Bringing the total mileage to around 30miles one way.
The entire trail is currently maintained very well. Any bike should be able to easily traverse it. No downed trees or unkept areas. The path was very packed down and smooth for not being asphalt. A gravel/road bike would have no problem. I was able to maintain a consistent speed I normally have on asphalt.
There is a parking area for around 5 cars that's almost exactly in the middle of the trail, east of I-79 bridge. Morning could be a 30mile round trip to do the south section. Grab lunch back at your car. Then head north for another 30 miles doing the Caperton Trail and North section of Mon River Trail.
I did the whole Mon River part of this trail system for the first time last weekend, and I hope my experience is helpful to others: The Sheepskin Trail, Mon River-North, Caperton, Mon River-South and MC trails are all contiguous, and can be thought of as one, mostly crushed limestone, trail. I started out on the Sheepskin Trial in Point Marion, PA, where I found easy parking and a stunning, huge outside wall mural of stained glass. Cyclists coming from the north may find it convenient to start here. I continued south as the trail turned into the MR-N, which can only be thought of as scenic if you appreciate waste water treatment plants, coal powered electric generating stations, and locks and dams. The Caperton section is a varied, mostly urban route that runs past the WVU campus and offers opportunities for food and drink right on the trail. Found MR-S the most scenic of the three and also enjoyed the quick little ride through the pretty state park and lighted tunnel into nearby Fairmont on the MC Trail before I turned around and headed back. Almost no port-o-johns, picnic tables or water anywhere along the trail. Few benches, several of which are in poor shape. Downed trees blocked much of the trail in several areas and had been cleared only enough for a bike to pass, not removed from the trail. The MR-S was often grassy and sometimes narrowed to a foot path. Seems like maybe this trail system could use some more volunteers! Haven't done the Deckers-Creek yet.
Beautiful ride along the quiet river. Fort is a good place for a snack/lunch before heading back into Morgantown.
We parked at Prickett's Fort State Park. Parking was plentiful and well marked. We stopped in the Visitor Center first. The folks there were very helpful--they provided maps and suggestions for other trails to check out.
Overall, the trail was in good condition. It was mostly flat, and the surface was crushed gravel. In spots, the trail got fairly narrow.
We rode to MP 21 and turned around. We saw a couple other cyclists and one deer. There were only two places to stop for photography.
The trail closely followed the river and was mostly shady. It was a nice trail, though not particularly scenic, given all the trees.
After riding the Caperton and a good chunck of the Decker Creek, we only were able to do about 5mi of the South Mon. But it was well maintained, stone dust, mostly shaded. We'll do more next trip.
We rode all the trails around Morgantown WV. We started this trail at mile 10 and road to Pricketts Fort and then continued on to do the MC Trail and rode back to our hotel for a total of 45.3 miles. The trail is awesome and the scenery is awesome .
This is a really nice trail with a beautiful view of the river. I saw a lot of wildlife along the way. It has a lot of shade and benches along the way. It took me a little over two hours to ride.
Well maintained, easy ride for moderate bikers, the Mon Trail ends and McTrail begins at the Ft. Prickett State Park. The McTrail is 2.5 miles through a great tunnel. The ride on the MonTrail starting from Waterfront is 19 miles, shaded, wildlife, along the river. The only concessions are at the trail heads. The Mountain State Brewing Company at MonTrail Waterfront has great pizza and beverages. One way it is about a 2.5 hour ride, plenty of parking.
Just a 2010 update with not much to add other than to concur with previous comments. The trail parallels the river almost the whole way with lots of nice scenery. It is paved to the city limits; nice, cinder path for the balance. We hadn’t checked into our downtown hotel yet, so we stopped at the parking area just south of downtown. The specific parking area for the trail only had about 8 spots, but it sits adjacent to a relatively new commercial/retail/hotel development with plenty of parking and services. We turned around at milepost 24. There is a parking area noted on the map there, but it wasn’t noticeable to us.
Day three of our multiday adventure riding a rail trail that starts out of the Hazel ruby McQuain Riverfront Park in Morgantown (Mon North, Decker Creek and Mon South) we headed south starting at MP 10. The Wharf area has got a lot of potential and several businesses have recently located right along the trail. We had a wonderful dinner outside at Oliverio's Ristorante last night. Today we stocked up on subs from Subway as I was advised that there are no convenience stores or places to resupply, even water, along the route. It was getting hoptter as the week progressed. We saw several interesting birds and other wildlife along the Monongahela river which the trail runs alongside. The trail is paved for a short distance (approx. .5 mile) then crushed limestone. It was excellent for cycling. We had planned to ride to the end at MP 29 but after three straight days of riding my wife was beginning to feel the effects so we turned at MP 25 and figure we'll cathch the last four miles from the other direction tomorrow when we cycle from Pickett's Fort State Park when we also cycle the MC Trail. Will have to pass on the West Fork River Trail as I read and had confirmed that the trail was washed out due to the heavy rains from this Spring. The days totals were 30 miles of cycling with 5 hrs of riding time.
I walked the southernmost 2 miles of the trail starting at the MCTrail parking lot at Prickett's Fort. I wished it were paved (rocks in my shoes from hiking), but it is a very flat surface with almost no elevation change at all. The Monongahela River is very beautiful and was enjoyable to walk along. Even though there are a few little towns along the path, it was so peaceful! I saw a lot of birds that I haven't seen in a very long time. All of the flowering trees were in bloom and it was so pretty. I walked for about 3 hours late on a Saturday morning and I only ran into a few people. Very nice for me, because I don't like a crowded path. I can't wait to bring my bike and ride the entire trail system!
"FOR THOSE OF US WHOSE HOME TRAIL IS SHARED BY HORSES, THE SURFACE OF THIS TRAIL IS MUCH APPRECIATED. NO HORSES ALLOWED HERE. BEAUTIFUL SCENERY. NOTE: NO TOILETS OR SOURCE OF WATER BETWEEN PRICKETT'S FORT AND MORGANTOWN.THE PAVED PORTION AROUND MORGANTOWN (CAPERTON TRAIL) IS VERY NICE WITH EASY ACCESS TO RESTAURANTS"
"This trail will not disappoint you. We had great weather and a fantastic ride. Morgantown is a great little city to eat in. check out maxwell's, and la casa. Stayed in the ""clarion morgan"" and it is a great little hotel in downtown on 1/4 mile from all trails is rosy mcquain park."
"Flat beautiful and well groomed. Rode this on Sept 28, 2005. Started in Morgantown. This should be a great ride for the fall colours. Enjoy"
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