Brooke Pioneer Rail Trail | West Virginia Rails To Trails


The Brooke Pioneer Trail follows the east bank of the Ohio River between Wellsburg and the Brooke–Ohio County line at Short Creek. Here the Brooke Pioneer Trail continues into Ohio County as the Wheeling Heritage Trails. Both trails are paved and provide a total of 18 miles of scenic hiking or biking along the river between the two cities they connect.

You’ll find expansive interpretive signs along the way that describe the railroad history—the Panhandle Railroad—of this area. Once called the “Wheeling Secondary Track” between Weirton Junction Tower and Benwood, West Virginia, the line opened in 1878. Serving freight (until 1981) and passengers (until 1951), the tracks were pulled in 1987, and it would be another decade before trail construction began.

In the north, the Brooke Pioneer Trail begins at a connection with the Wellsburg Yankee Trail, another rail-trail open on the same corridor in the community’s downtown. Extending south from Wellsburg, the trail crosses Buffalo Creek on a restored railroad trestle paralleling State Route 2. This is how the route continues for its entire journey: wedged between the road and the Ohio River.

That doesn’t mean the views are lacking. In fact, the road is often shielded from view by brush likely there since the days of the railroad. Looking to the west, trail users are treated to stunning vistas of the powerful Ohio River and the dramatic climbs and drops of the hills in Ohio just beyond.

Those looking for reminders of the area’s industrial past won’t be disappointed, either. The trail skirts the edge of a handful of manufacturing properties between Wellsburg and Windsor Heights, and the large cooling tower and smokestack of Ohio’s Cardinal Power Plant interrupt the views of the rolling wooded landscape on the opposite shore.


Trail Manager Contact

Brooke Pioneer Trail Association
Post Office Box 401
Wellsburg, West Virginia


Links with Wellsburg Yankee and Wheeling Heritage Rail Trails. For more info about this trail visit


Trail Stats

Trail Status Temporarily Closed
Trail is temporarily closed while a road bridge is being constructed with completion date in 2022. The area closed encompasses some 4 miles. At the Buffalo Creek entrance to the trail just south of Wellburg, the trail is closed for bridge construction crew traffic only. However, if trail users would like to access open section, start at the rest stop at Short Creek south of Beech Bottom near a newly reconstructed Rt.2 bridge, there is a restroom there. For a longer adventure, go south into Ohio County and travel on the Heritage Trail to Wheeling approximately 9 miles ,then at Main Street and 16th St. head east on the Wheeling Creek section of the Wheeling Heritage Trail another 5 miles to its end point in the Elm Grove section of Wheeling.
Trail End Points Charles St. and 2nd St. (Wellsburg) to Wheeling Heritage Trails at SR 2 and Stone Shannon Rd. (Short Creek)
Counties Brooke
Trail Length 6.7 miles
Activities Biking, Walking, In-line Skating, Cross Country Skiing, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible
Trail Surface Asphalt
Trail Link Profile Profile
Parking and Trail Access

In Wellsburg, park just south of the trestle off SR 2 south of town. Limited parking is also available just off the trail in Beech Bottom. In Windsor Heights, park just south of the bridge off SR 2 at Stone Shannon Road. Use caution when crossing the highway to access the trail.