New River Gorge National Wild & Scenic River
The Brooklyn to Southside Junction Trail is probably the most popular mountain bike trail within the park, and also a favorite with hikers and fishermen. Never more than 100 yards from the river, this six-mile trail follows an abandoned railroad line along the left bank of the New River below the town of Thurmond. The overall gradient of the trail is very mild, but the rocks, roots, and railroad ties require that the beginning biker pay close attention.
Bikers (and hikers) along this trail are rewarded by views of the New River and the gorge that the river has cut. You also pass by a number of pieces of New River history, including abandoned mining towns, foundations, railroad trestles, and coke ovens left from the days of "King Coal." Near Cunard, you may hear the yells of some of the many whitewater rafters as they hit Surprise! rapid; the first of the big whitewater on the lower gorge trips.
Trailheads for the Brooklyn to Southside Junction Trail are located on the Cunard River Access Road, or on State Route 25 near Thurmond.
To reach the Cunard and Brooklyn Trailheads:
From U.S. Route 19 at Fayetteville: Take WV Route 16 South through the town of Fayetteville. Take a left on Gatewood Road, and go 4.6 miles to the Cunard turn-off. Turn left and go 1.8 miles. Follow signs indicating Cunard River Access. You can park at the bottom of the steep hill at the river access area, or continue another mile up the gravel road to the parking area at Brooklyn.
To reach the Southside Junction Trailhead:
From U.S. Route 19 north of Beckley, take the Glen Jean Thurmond exit. Take an immediate left, and go 0.5 mile to Glen Jean. Take a right and follow the signs to Thurmond (WV Route 25). Continue on this road for 6 miles to a three-way intersection. The parking area is located straight ahead from this intersection.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication