Posted 09/13/16 by Laura Stark in America’s Trails, Building Trails
This article is from the Fall 2016 issue of Rails to Trails magazine, which is hitting mailboxes in late September. It has been republished here in an edited format. “I Heart Trails” is an appropriate slogan for the developing Industrial Heartland Trails Network, a collection of nearly three dozen pathways featuring scenic wilderness, dramatic railroad tunnels and trestles, welcoming trail towns and historical sites from the birthplace of America’s Industrial Revolution. The system is ambitious and breathtaking in scope: 1,450 miles of trail spiraling out across four states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and New York. Here is a sampling of the beauty to be found within the network.
Mon River Trails
The beauty of West Virginia’s Mon River Trails network, which is centered in Morgantown, is that visitors have access to four trails—and four unique experiences—all in one interconnected system spanning nearly 50 miles. Head away from town and quickly become immersed in dense woodlands, where the quiet is broken only by the splash of small waterfalls along the crushed-stone pathway. Or stay in town and enjoy access to a number of city parks as well as great dining and shopping opportunities on the paved, urban portion of the trail system.
North Bend Rail Trail
Winding under lush tree canopies and through rocky cuts in the hillsides of the Appalachian region, this 72-mile unpaved rail-trail exemplifies “Wild and Wonderful” West Virginia. The remote and pristine pathway offers a whopping 36 bridges, most over picturesque small creeks, as well as 10 tunnels to explore, including its longest, which spans 2,297 feet.