Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Wildlife
Starting at the same parking lot as the Coal Mining Heritage Loop Trail
near the Trash & Recycling Center, do not go down the boardwalk, and instead go to the left around the swinging gate. There is a constructed gap that runners, walkers, and bikers can fit through on the right side of the gate.
The dirt road is above and parallels the eastern half of the Coal Mining Heritage Loop Trail
. It descends to the Huckleberry Trail about 150' south of where the Coal Mining Heritage Loop Trail
crosses the Huckleberry. Look both ways to be sure to not collide with a biker at this crossing.
The dirt road continues across the Huckleberry Trail, rising, leveling out, and descending back to where it crosses over the Norfolk & Western Railroad tracks at 0.75 miles. This is the turn-around point for many runners. Crossing over the tracks, the road gets continually less and less friendly for runners (and you can get stuck waiting 10-15 minutes for the train to pass). The gravel gets larger and larger and more and more uncomfortable to run on as you continue.
The section between the first and second railroad crossings is okay, though. After the second RR crossing at 1.0 miles, the gravel gets more noticeable, and by the time the road is right next to the railroad, the gravel is more like large pointed rocks, making running uncomfortable for long distances. This is the other normal turn-around point for an out and back.
Theoretically, this road goes for miles paralleling the tracks all the way to the New River and could someday become an awesome rails-to-trail project, but for now, it seems ill-advised to continue for anyone but people who are ok with potentially pointlessly injuring their feet.
This trail is a nice add-on to doing laps of the Coal Mining Heritage Loop Trail
or in conjunction with running on the Huckleberry Trail.