Hiking a (Small) Portion of the Allegheny Highlands Rail Trail

For this week’s blog post, I’m recalling a memorable — but accidental — day trip we took during a vacation in West Virginia a couple years ago. With winter about to begin this year, it’s the time to think about warmer weather day trips — perhaps start planning a few more!

It’s my guess we were near Shavers Fork…. the unusual tombstone reads: Here lies Peter Shaver killed by
Indians 1781. This mountain and Shavers Fork River are named in his honor.

We were out driving along Route 219 — one of West Virginia’s most scenic roads in my opinion — and exploring rural roads off of 219. Occasionally we’d stop to photograph an interesting old house or barn, or whatever we found that was interesting.

We stumbled across Back Hollow Road, which somehow led us to Glady Road, which led to the Allegheny Highlands Rail Trail, so we hiked along that.

But it was early September in the West Virginia Allegheny Mountains, so the weather was perfect for hiking! So willynilly, without a trail guide or even really, knowing exactly where we were, we set off for a few miles long hike. We had small-ish children with us, so we would have walked no more than five or six miles, round trip.

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 rail trail travels 24.5 miles between Elkins and Parsons, and provides panoramic views of the countryside as it passes through small towns and rural farmland. The rail trail has portions that are fine packed gravel as well as portions that are smoothly paved. The section we walked was fine packed gravel.

We saw deer along the rail trail, which on this stretch was mostly meadow and farmland. Wildflowers bloomed aplenty, and thus, there were many butterflies. A benefit to walking, not riding, the rail trail was the slower pace allowed us to appreciate some of the smaller details of the scenery. The trail was deserted, so we let our dog off the leash that day so he could trot along at his own pace.

On a personal note, in recalling this particular daytrip, I had to rely on Facebook posts and photo albums, as well as shared memories and discussions with my husband and kids — a wonderful way to get to enjoy it all over again!

Getting there: See, that’s the problem. I’m not sure where there is. Recommend getting a trail map from the Highlands Trail Foundation to plan your own adventure along the Allegheny Highlands Rail Trail!

Website: highlandstrail.org

Check out the blog’s FB page for updates on places we’ve visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I’d love to hear what you’re doing! Email [email protected] if you’re interested in being a guest-blogger!