Biking in Canaan Valley, West Virginia is equally fun and relaxing. With no worry of big-city traffic, you can ride through bike-friendly roadways and take in the scenic views down every trail. Not to mention, the friendly faces you’ll meet along the way. One well-known biking trail-grade near Canaan Valley, with more than 14 miles, is the Blackwater Canyon.
One of the most under-used trail resources is the old railroad grade that descends down through the Blackwater Canyon from Thomas to Parsons, West Virginia. Whether you are a single-track junkie or a rail-trail enthusiast, this is a must-do bike ride; especially in early fall or spring. Always remember, trails can get tough and take longer than expected, so it’s important to bike with a friend and pack water and snacks before setting out on your journey.
Individuals recommend starting in Thomas and riding downhill toward Parsons. For parking, there is a spot on the rail-grade itself right in town–enter from the access road directly across from the Miners and Merchants Bank. From there, hop on your bike and travel downstream just past the Wastewater Treatment plant, veering right across the refinished foot bridge over the North Fork of the Blackwater River.
Three miles in, individuals will approach their first gate, which is also the location of Douglas Falls–a 30-foot waterfall easily accessible from the rail-grade. From there, the grade takes on more of a single track appearance and begins to enter the Blackwater Canyon where the trees open up and reveal great views of the river.
When approaching hendricks, there will be a second gate which is the 9-mile mark. From here, it’s smooth sailing into Parsons and eventually, the trail turns into a paved rail-trail and runs parallel to Black Fork River.
At the end of your journey, plan for a shuttle or take on the challenge of biking back up the trail-grade to Thomas. This path is fun for all ages, so explore a new trail today!