Tunnel #2

East Portal

West Portal

Click on photos to enlarge

There is only one tunnel on the West Fork Trail and it's called Tunnel #2. It was the second tunnel built when the Coal and Iron Railroad was constructed. It brought the line through Shavers Mountain. Tunnel #1 goes through Cheat Mountain and is still in operation with the West Virginia Central Railroad.

The tunnel is not maintained and in poor condition. The Forest Service considers it unsafe and to dissuade anyone from using it they have piled large rocks across the the old rail path.

Let's go have a look. Since I wouldn't recommend walking through the tunnel we can look at each end of the tunnel separately by parking and walking. The tunnel runs roughly east to west so it has a East Portal and a West Portal. The east end is in the West Fork Glady Fork River Valley above the town of Glady and the west end is in the Shavers Fork River Valley.

Tunnel Diagram Pictures of the still
operating Tunnel #1
above Elkins.

East Portal

To find where the East Portal of the tunnel is you just
need to find the Forest Warden's house, which isn't too
difficult. You can see across the street from the house
the old rail bed heading to the left away from the road.
If you have driven and not biked up from Durbin there
is plenty of space next to the road to park.
A short distance up the rail bed and you will come to this
gate. There is no maintenance after this point. If you
are on a bike I suggest leaving it here and continuing on
foot. I didn't know any better and ended up with a flat tire.
Overgrown railroad cut.
Overgrown path.
View down into Glady from old rail bed.
Path gets much more difficult.
From here you start ducking under trees and climbing
over rocks.
First sight of the tunnel.
Last obstacle.
East Portal
The first picture was taken around 3:30pm in early
September on a bright sunny day. This is how dark it
actually looks when you are there. Above the tunnel is
a complete tree canopy keeping out most of the light.
Being so dimly lit along with the sound of falling
water makes it more than a little creepy.
The second photo is the same scene overexposed with
the wonders of digital photography.
A Then & Now photo comparison from 1917.

Western Maryland Railway - Tunnel #2 - Near Glady, West Virginia - 1917
Looking straight through the tunnel.
It is reported to be around 1/4 mile long.
Notice how the light from the other end is reflected
by the water at the bottom of the tunnel. From
this angle it looks like it might be flooded it's entire
length. When we get to the western end we'll see it's not.
A lot of water running down the face of the tunnel
Looking at the base of tunnel's mouth.
The water looks to be a few inches deep here.
It's too dark to see far into the tunnel.
You can see the splashes caused by the
constant stream of water falling from inside
the top of the tunnel.
The view looking from the tunnel mouth outwards.

West Portal

The West Portal is easier to get to than the
other side but not as interesting looking.
Parking directions are at Parking on the
Shavers Fork River side of Shavers Mountain
When you get to the other side of the Forest
Service gate look to your left. As the
second photo shows there isn't much in the way
of a path. Just head back towards the mountain.
A small stream is running down the middle of
the old rail bed. The cattails in the photo
shows that it gets a little marshy.
In the second photo you can just start to see
the tunnel.
Getting closer.
A Then and Now photo comparison from 1954.

Western Maryland Railway - Tunnel #2 - above Bemis, West Virginia
A large pile of rocks across the rail bed.
A small *WARNING* before you climb over these
rocks. This is West Virginia and we do have our
share of poisonous snakes who you might find
sunning themselves on rocks just like these.
So look before you climb. If you are interested in
seeing and hearing a local rattler click HERE.
West Portal
Either through accident or design the walls of
the railroad cut have collapsed at the mouth of
tunnel blocking the lower ten feet of the entrance.
After climbing to the top of the blockage here
is the view down into the bottom of the tunnel.
Looking straight into the tunnel from the top of
blockage. It wasn't really near this bright in the
tunnel. Again the wonders of a digital camera.
As you can see there is water at the bottom of
the tunnel for the first 50 feet then it drys out.
It fades into the darkness so can't tell how much
of the tunnel is actually flooded.
The view from the West Portal looking outwards.

West Fork Trail

Fun Places To Bike In West Virginia
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.