Allegheny Highlands Trail - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Allegheny Highlands Trail

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Mercer County Schools hold a meeting regarding this coming years levy rate

    Mercer County Schools hold a meeting regarding this coming years levy rate

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 11:41 PM EDT2014-04-16 03:41:37 GMT
    The Mercer County Board of Education held a meeting on Tuesday regarding the 2014 and 15 school year levy rate. The levy is the funding system for all schools in West Virginia. The rates proposed are
     
    The Mercer County Board of Education held a meeting on Tuesday regarding the 2014 and 15 school year levy rate.



     
  • Would stiffer penalties for DUI's save more lives?

    Would stiffer penalties for DUI's save more lives?

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:04 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:04:54 GMT
    Driving under the influence in Mercer County. Authorities told us they're seeing it far too often lately. People we've been talking to say they believe stiffer penalties for DUI's could save lives. On
    Driving under the influence in Mercer County. Authorities told us they're seeing it far too often lately.
  • Skeletal remains found Wyoming County

    Skeletal remains found Wyoming County

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:04 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:04:35 GMT
    On April 10th a search warrant was executed on the property of Oscar Combs Senior on the Bud Mountain area of Wyoming County. State police found skeletal remains of an unidentified human on the backside
    State Police found skeletal remains on a man's property in Wyoming County.
  • 55 Good ThingsMore>>

  • 55 Good Things About West Virginia

    55 Good Things About West Virginia

    Every year since 1986, The State Journal has devoted a section of the newspaper to highlight 55 people, places, businesses, traditions and events that make the Mountain State a special place to live.
    It's become a late spring and summer tradition. Every year since 1986, The State Journal has devoted a section of the newspaper to highlight 55 people, places, businesses, traditions and events that make the Mountain State a special place to live.

Trail offers outdoor adventures through state's mountain highlands

By ANDREA LANNOM alannom@statejournal.com

ELKINS — From sweeping grassy meadows near Elkins to the banks of Black Fork, the 25-mile Allegheny Highlands Trail offers avid outdoor adventurers several ways to explore the northeastern part of the state. 

What once was an old commuter rail line is now a biking and walking trail that winds its way from Elkins to Hendricks. 

Gordon Blackley, a member of the board of directors of the Highlands Trail Foundation, estimates the biking trail was created about 15 years ago. Half of the trail, Blackley described, is paved, and the rest is gravel. 

The trail also features a once-abandoned bridge in Parsons. The completion of construction on this bridge has made it much easier to get through Parsons, Blackley said. 

The Allegheny Highlands Trail also has seen some notable praise. The Rails to Trails Conservancy selected the Allegheny Highlands Trail as its trail of the month for July 2008.

In the Rails to Trails article, Kelly Pack, manager of trail development for Rails to Trails Conservancy, described the trail as a "long-distance, well-maintained trail in the middle of one of the most pristine and protected areas of the state." 

Blackley said the trail sees its share of walkers. For the most part, however, people bike the trail. 

Whether it's bicyclists or walkers, the trail sees lots of traffic, Blackley said. Plus, geocaching draws its own crowd. Caches are only about a mile apart, Blackley said. 

According to geocaching.com, geocaching is a "real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices." 

"We've got 24 caches along the trail, and every time someone finds one of them, they log that into their personal cache finding page. That automatically notifies me because I'm the caching person. I get four or five of them a day," Blackley said, noting geocaching has been a popular activity on the trail for three to four years. 

"People come from all over to ride that trail," Blackley added. "Geocaching helps because that's a whole other niche for people who are trail riders." 

Blackley said the foundation hosts several biking and socialization events. 

The first, hosted in July, is the Great Tour de Moccaccino IV. This poker run starts from the Highland Park trailhead in Elkins and the Parsons Depot and ends at the Montrose trailhead. 

Participants at the start of the run are dealt three cards at the start of the trail. When they reach the end at Montrose, they get the other two cards. Winners from each direction win $50. 

The Highlands Trail Foundation also hosts a guided bike ride down Blackwater Canyon in September. 

Participants meet at a coffeehouse in Thomas and end at the historic railroad depot in Parsons. A guide typically takes a group of three or four members down the trail at a time