The Allegheny Highlands Trail (AHT) follows the original route of the West Virginia Central and Pittsburg Railway, built by Henry Gassaway Davis in 1884. The AHT includes 26 contiguous miles from the Railroad Depot in Elkins to Hendricks, and an additional 5 miles in Tucker County near Davis. For 26 miles this exceptionally scenic trail provides panoramic views of the West Virginia countryside, as it passes through a mountainous region with small towns and rural farmland.
From the southern Highland Park trailhead in Elkins, the trail gradually ascends for about 15 miles, passing around Pheasant and Polecat Knob mountains. The rural views and mountainous backgrounds provide numerous opportunities for photos. Beyond the mountains, the trail starts to descend more steeply and approaches the small town of Parsons.
The trail crosses the Shavers Fork River on the restored Western Maryland Railroad bridge in Parsons and continues through Mill Race Park. A ramp from the park ascends to the bike lane on the Black Fork River bridge. The next trailhead is located just over the Black Fork River on the eastern side of US 219. The remaining section is paved and follows the beautiful Black Fork River to the community of Hendricks.
The railroad grade, not presently developed as part of the AHT, continues north of Hendricks in the beautifully scenic Blackwater Canyon to Thomas. Be warned: it’s steep.
Trail Manager Contact
United States Forest Service, WV Division of Highways and City of Parsons
For MOST CURRENT INFO- The Allegheny Highlands Trail website
Conditions on the Allegheny Highlands Trail from Gilman to Kerens have improved. Damage caused by broadband contractors during installation along the unpaved trail has been repaired. Ruts have been filled and compacted; small gravel has been spread in low areas. Although not ideal, the trail is suitable for recreational use. For cyclists seeking a smoother surface, a pleasant ride-around is available on the Leading Creek Road. See the AHT map for details. Please use caution as this road has moderate vehicular traffic. The HTF will continue working with WVDOH to address trail maintenance issues.
A section of the AHT (Mile 16-17) is closed for highway construction south of Parsons in Tucker County. Nearby MNF trails, including Shingle Tree and South Haddix, have also been impacted. It is not known how long this closure will be in effect. Please be aware that it is unsafe to traverse this section. US 219 is extremely dangerous and unsuitable as a ride around due to large trucks and heavy traffic. A backroad ride around is available for those who are in condition to undertake arduous climbs to the county line from either direction.
Ride around directions:
From Parsons: Leave the trail at the RR bridge in downtown going south toward the stoplight on US 219. You will pass the courthouse, and turn right at the stoplight to Rt. 72. In about 1/4 mi., turn left on Smokey Hollow Road. The sign may have a County Route #17. If you come to the Tucker County Board of Education (red brick old school building with a sign), you just missed it. Smokey Hollow begins to climb immediately, then descends to Clover Run Road. In about 3 or 4 mi, you come to a T for County Road #21, Clover Run Road. Turn left on 21. It is 8 miles from here to where you can intersect the AHT at Montrose. From Clover Run Road, take the 2nd left turn on a paved road and proceed through the community to the trail.
From Porterwood: Take the Shavers Fork Road CR39 at the trailhead and follow the river to intersect Pheasant Mountain Road #47. Bear right on 47 and climb to the county line, then plummet toward US Rt 219, cross 219 with caution at the old Leading Creek Fire Hall to Israel Church Road #3 and take the first left onto the AHT. This route is not as steep but may be a little longer.
Shavers Fork is a nice rolling ride along the river before the big climb, but Clover Run has less traffic. FYI, cell service is patchy on both. Also be aware that both roads have vehicular traffic so caution is advised.