Day Two North Bend Rail Trail Wolf Summit to Pennsboro

 

Day Two Change of Direction

Not my elevation profile, from Ride With GPS https://ridewithgps.com/routes/9893679

That evening I do some elevation checking. Wolf Summit 1297 feet. It’s a gradual uphill from Pennsboro, 866 feet. Oh yeah, I’m going to start at Wolf Summit and go west to Pennsboro! The hubs has agreed. It’s not that far driving.

Wolf Summit Harrison County

It’s fairly easy to find the trail. The North Bend Rail Trail is VERY undermarked. I start down the trail and then find the official “mileage” start. 

The first miles west are a bit rough, then the surface becomes packed dirt, grass, single track. The first tunnel is very soon.

Brandy Gap Tunnel 1086 Feet Long

 

Salem

The town of Salem is a full service town-IGA grocery right on the trail, followed by a Dairy Queen, a bike repair station.

Salem North Bend Rail Trail

I stop for water right outside of Salem and talk to the only biker I see on the trail. He advises me a way to avoid the boggy section right outside of town.

 

I’ve outlined this on the map above. I doubt this wet section ever dries out. Ride the street-Long Run-parallel to the trail. The trail then intersects with the trail and pick up the trail and head west again.

The trail runs a bit parallel to Route 50, then veers off. The next big landmark is the Mark West Energy Sherwood Complex. It has been open since 2012.  

The trail is asphalt for about 1/10 of a mile as it passes by the plant.


The signage is the best on the trail! Then it was back to a grassy trail.

I pass by another pipeline being built. As of July 18, 2018, this area of the trail either had the pipeline laid, or was just getting ready. I  had no problem biking across the area.

Sherwood Tunnel 846 feet long

Sherwood Tunnel North Bend Rail Trail

 

Smithburg 

I am approaching civilization again. This tiny town is Smithburg. There is a bike repair station here. There is a general store across the road.

 

The sky is looking a bit omnimous as I bike through Smithburg. I start to turn on my phone to see what the weather will be like, but it won’t change anything. I bike on.

West Union

It is not long at all until the next town of West Union. Due to time constraints, I keep on biking.

I know I would be encountering the longest tunnel on the trail next, Central Station Tunnel.

It’s funny how some tunnels look. You can see to the other side-it must be about 350 feet long. Wrong! It’s the longest tunnel.

I get my big light out, turn on the two small bike lights, and ride the tunnel. I again forget to look at my watch to see how long it takes.

Okay, after Central Station I have one more tunnel and I should be very close to Pennsboro and the end of my ride! Which is good, because my rear is getting a bit sore on the bike. I should have changed saddles, but ran out of time pre-ride. Now I’m paying for it.

Ritchie County Again

Contrast the two photos, the one above in Doddridge County, and crossing the line back into Ritchie County-that’s a big change! I heard via the interwebs that Doddridge County had gotten a million dollar grant, hence the nicely new gravel and limestone trail I had been riding on.

Biggest bank heist

The trail through here is impressive. It’s been rebuilt sometime recently, you can tell.  

Only loose dogs

In this area, the trail makes an annoying habit of crossing roads in a curve. I had hopped off the bike to walk it across a busy road, when I looked left, and then heard the barking-three small dogs out in the road barking at me! Thankfully a car stopped and didn’t hit the dogs. The dogs were all friendly, in fact one small one followed me down the trail-I had to bike quickly to finally get the little guy to stop!

No more Pics

The rain is coming down heavily. There is thunder, but no lightning. I blow through Toll Gate (I only know it’s Toll Gate due to the wooden sign). Now I’m on an incline up heading toward my last tunnel.  The rain is turning the trail treads into little rivers. Where is that last tunnel? I have to rest twice on the way up. Finally! The last tunnel!

Now I’ve maybe a mile to go. I call the hubs to tell him to meet me at the Crossroads Cafe for lunch and order me a BLT and fries. I start biking-and drop the chain. Argh. I wipe the condensation from my glasses and behave nicer to Helga-just less than one mile, girl! I get to the Pennsboro Depot and every vehicle in the area seems to go down the street before I can cross. I snap a pic of the depot and triumphantly end my ride at the Crossroads Cafe.

 

Day Two Conclusions

The North Bend Rail Trail in 2018, is fine to ride. PROVIDED you ride the correct bike. A road bike won’t work. A loaded tour bike would be miserable. A bike with big tires, a mountain bike can handle this just fine.

Weather conditions will also temper your trip. I planned for mid summer or late summer. I got lucky and West Virignia had little rain before my trip.

This would be good for a two day journey with possible bike camping or treat yourself to the hotel in Elleboro mid way.

Come visit West Virginia and ride the North Bend Trail!

Day One Link

2 thoughts on “Day Two North Bend Rail Trail Wolf Summit to Pennsboro

  1. Dave Stoebe

    Thanks! I’ve been looking for information on the eastern section of the trail because the older reports I could find said that part was pretty sketchy. So I’d be ok on a hybrid? That section you bypassed on the road – is it completely impassable? Thanks again – I enjoy your reports.

    Reply
    1. Kim Post author

      Hi Dave! Sorry to not be clear, I didn’t avoid that section. It was just wet and muddy. You could end up really muddy after some rain. I just wanted to point out a detour in case folks on road bikes attempt the trail. A hybrid would be okay on 75% of the trail. One tunnel had big No 2. gravel which I could see a hybrid bike sliding around. The trail is entirely ride worthy on a hybrid or mountain bike. Road bike-or a loaded tourist, I think would be a big struggle.

      Reply

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