Virtual Ride of the Blackwater Canyon Circle Loop Miles 0 through 15

Miles 16 through 34

Blackwater Canyon Circle Loop

Click here for a more detailed description of just the Blackwater Canyon Trail

The majority of these photos were taken on 10/2/2006 and 10/2/2007. The Mileage and Ride Time (RT) figures were taken from my bike computer. Ride Time is just the time actually moving. You're total trip time will be higher. There are two photos with the each "Mile and RT" listing. Usually the first photo is the view up the trail and the second is the view looking back. Two views for the price of one.

Click on photo to enlarge

The best place to park is at the
Allegheny Highlands Trail trailhead in
Hendricks WV.
The town is small so it's easy to find.
It's right next to Route 72 and a short distance from
the beginning of the Blackwater Canyon Trail.
Second photo is the view looking from
the trailhead towards Blackwater Canyon.
Mile: 0   RT 0:00
Start the Circle Loop ride on the Blackwater
Canyon Trail. The trail starts directly across
Route 72 from where the Allegheny
Highlands Trail ends. There are no signs
marking the trail. It is a small gravel
Mile: 1   RT 0:06
Blackwater Canyon Trail
Mile: 2   RT 0:13
Blackwater Canyon Trail
Mile: 2.1  
Forest Service gate across the trail.
Trailhead for Limerock Trail NO. 142
Mile: 3   RT 0:22
Blackwater Canyon Trail
Mile: 4   RT 0:35
Blackwater Canyon Trail
Mile: 5   RT 0:39
Blackwater Canyon Trail
Mile: 5.8  
Lindy Point Overlook in the distance.
It's on the opposite side of the canyon.
Second photo is zoomed view of same.
Click Lindy Point Overlook to
see the view from the overlook.
Mile: 6   RT 0:47
Blackwater Canyon Trail
Mile: 7   RT 0:55
Blackwater Canyon Trail
Mile: 7.1  
The view down into the Blackwater River
Mile: 7.1  
Pose Point in the distance.
It overlooks the confluence of the Blackwater
River and the North Fork Blackwater River.
The trail parallels the North Fork from here.
Mile: 7.9  
Upper Forest Service Gate and ....
....Douglas Falls
Mile: 8   RT 1:18
Blackwater Canyon Trail
The town of Douglas just off to the left.
Mile: 8.7  
Old beehive coke ovens
Mile: 9   RT 1:10
Blackwater Canyon Trail
Mile: 9.2 
Intersection of the Blackwater Canyon Trail
and Douglas Road. Turn right onto
Douglas Road and cross over the North
Fork Blackwater River.
Mile: 9.2 
North Fork Blackwater River

Mile: 9.7  
Time for a History Break
Douglas road leads between the two buildings
shown at the right. The building on the
left side of the road was built as the
offices for the Davis Coal and Coke Company
early in the 1900's. When the company
reached peak production in 1910 it
controlled 135,000 acres,
employed 1,600 men of 16 nationalities,
operated two power plants, and worked
more than 1,000 coke ovens and nine
mines within one square mile of the
this office. The other building
is the Buxton and Landstreet store.
It was the "company store" for the Davis Coal
and Coke Company. It is now
home to the Mountain Made Artisan Gallery.
Look to your left behind the Davis Coke
and Coal Building and you will see
what looks to be a small gravel road.
(This photo shows a car parked on it.)
This is the right of way for the West
Virginia Central and Pittsburg Railway.
(No "h" at the end of this Pittsburg)
The track was first laid thought this
spot in 1884. The railway reached
Thomas in August and Davis on
November 1 of that year.
The right of way we just biked
up in Blackwater Canyon was built
in 1887-1888.

The WVCP Railway was owned by Henry Gassaway Davis who the town of Davis is named after.
He had a brother named Thomas, which is where the town of Thomas gets it's name.
There was another brother named William. When H.G. Davis's railroad surveyor laid out
the town of Davis he named the three main streets Henry, Thomas and William.
H.G. Davis also had a son-in-law named Elkins.
I'll let you figure that one out for yourself.

Look to your right and you can see
where the old right of way continues
south from the corner of the parking
lot behind Mountain Made Gallery as
it heads for Davis.
The old rail bed is intact and would
make a great path. Unfortunately it
is currently owned by a hunting club
and is posted. (second photo)
So we continue our bike loop on
Douglas Road but we will meet up
with the old railbed further out.
Be sure to check out the front of
the Buxton and Landstreet building
as you pass. It was condsidered the
finest building in the county when
built in 1900.
There were men working on the Davis
Coke and Coal Building the day I took
these pictures. I hope they have found
a tennant for the building. Hate to see
it in ruins.

Mile: 10   RT 1:18
Douglas Road
Mile: 10.2  
Intersection with State Route 32
Turn right onto SR 32.
Be warned. It's steep and can be busy.
Mile: 11   RT 1:25
Route 32
Mile: 11.6 
You will see the sign ahead for "DAVIS".
Across the road you should see the sign
for the "Tucker County Landfill".
We turn right here....
....onto an unmarked gravel road. This is
probably private land but it's not
posted so I'm assuming it's OK to
Go a short distance on the gravel road
and look to your right. You'll see
several large rocks. They are sitting
on the old Davis Branch railbed that
we crossed earlier. Turn right and go
between the rocks. Head south on the
The path merges with a wide gravel road.
Let's stop and look around.
If you look at the topo map you'll
see that this whole area was once
a large strip mine.
Nice reclamation job.
From here if you look east you can see
about 20 of the windmills on Backbone
Mountain. This is a zoomed photo to make
them easier to see.
We continue south on the gravel road.
Mile: 12    RT 1:32 
Gravel Road
Mile: 12.5 
Look for a small dual track leaving the
gravel road on the left. There will be
a short washed out stretch then you
will get back on the old railbed.
Mile: 13   RT 1:39 
Old Davis Branch Railbed
Mile: 13.2 
Once you see Pendleton Lake there will
be a set of wooden steps leading down
to the left. Be careful of the steps.
They've seen better days. At the bottom
of the steps you'll enter Blackwater
Falls State Park.
As you pass along the lake look back
and you can see the cut stone culvert
built by the railroad to carry the line
over Pendleton Creek. There are several
of these arches on the old railway.
They were hand built by immigrant
Italian stone masons over 100 years ago.
The fact that they still remain shows
the quality of their craftmanship.
The path along the lake will bring you
to the park's nature center. It can
be a bit marshy along the fence.
Head out from the nature center on the
road. Take the right fork as you leave.
Mile: 13.8
Pendleton Point Overlook
The road will bring you here to the
You can see Blackwater Falls Lodge
directly across the canyon.
As you leave the overlook go right
on the park road. This road parallels
the canyon.
Mile: 14   RT 1:49
Blackwater Falls State Park Road
There are many picnic sites and a water
fountain along this section of park road.
Mile: 14.8
Falls parking and Trading Post
The Trading Post has bathrooms and
a snack bar. If you want to get a close
up view of the falls you'll have to
park the bike and walk down. 214 steps
to the bottom.
Blackwater Falls
The Falls are reportedly the most
photographed spot in all of West
The second photo is looking down
Blackwater Canyon with the mist
from the falls visible. Notice the
observation platform in the top
center of the photo. We are
headed to that spot.
Mile: 15   RT 1:54
Blackwater Falls Park
4 way intersection

We turn right. Towards Lodge - Cabins ->
Mile: 15.3  
Blackwater River Bridge
The view from the bridge.
Since the river divides the canyon I'm
going to end this page here. But the
Circle Loop isn't done yet.....

......Continue the Blackwater Canyon Circle Loop by clicking on

East Side Of The Canyon - Miles 16 to 34.

All information is presented without any assurance of accuracy. Use at your own risk.
Distance measurements are approximate.
All photos © 2008 J. Watson. All rights reserved.