Along West Fork River from Shinnston to Fairmont in Harrison and Marion Counties, WV
<<next two paragraphs needs rewrite >> The Marion County Trail, also called McTrail, will provide a critical part of the link between the Gasper Caperton/Mon River Trail (see page SW-65) in the Morgantown area and the West Fork River Trail (see page SW-109) leading west from Fairmont. The trail is paved for its entire length.
This trail is a segment of a trail system that connects the Youghiogheny River Trail in Pennsylvania with Morgantown, Clarksburg, and Parkersburg WV. This system will incorporate the existing McTrail, Harrison County, and North Bend trails plus the Gasper Caperton Trail now under development and connections between these.
Marion County Trail/McTrail
Location <<??>> Township, , Marion County
Trailheads Prickett’s Fort State Park
Length, Surface 2.5 miles paved
Character Uncrowded, rural, sunny and shady, level
Usage restrictions No motorized vehicles
Amenities Rest rooms, water
Driving time from Pittsburgh 1 hours 50 minutes south
This trail is cut into the side of a hill, way above the creek. As a result there are several impressive through cuts where the trail has cut through a ridge, and several very high embankments.
In general, the trail has steep sides, most often with two to four feet drop to the drainage ditch. When the trail leaps across a side creek the steep sides may be several hundreds of feet.
The trail starts in Fairmont on Winfield St and skirts several industrial plants. It then enters a 1100 foot lighted tunnel. On the far side of the tunnel is a deep cut, for about another 1000 feet. The trail continues along the side of the hill side alternating between cut, embankment, and bench.
Around mile 1.6 to 1.8 a small development of recent house is pasted on the hillside between the trail and the creek. At mile 2.4, trailhead parking is along side the trail with a fix-it station and Fort Pickett can be seen though the trees. Two hundred feet past the end of trailhead parking, the trail heads steeply downhill to the river, with a sharp right hand turn at the bottom. Continuing past the turn comes to the bridge over Pickett Creek. Looking back one can see the railroad bridge that used to take the McTrail line over the Monongahela River.
Extensions of the ride
The next section north on the Parkersburg to Pittsburgh corridor is a seamless connection to the Mon River Trail (see page SW-65).
The next section south on the Parkersburg to Pittsburgh corridor is supposed to be a 3.6-mile marked road route connecting the south end of this trail with the north end of the West Fork River Trail (see page 109), which runs southwest from Fairmont to Shinston. However, we can’t find all the markings, and the markings we can find put us on a route with hills and traffic.
Redesign the 3.6 mile connection to the West Fork Trail and find a better alternative.
Vicinity: Directions begin headed south on I79 to Fairmont WV. To reach this point from Pittsburgh, go south on I79 into West Virginia.
Prickett’s Fort State Park Trailhead: From the West Virginia rest area, follow I-79 south for about 21.4 miles. Take Exit 139 toward E Fairmont. At the bottom of the ramp, turn right/north, and follow signs to the park. The park is about 2.7 miles from the exit. Once in the park, follow the signs to the Visitor Center. Contoniue about 250 feet past the Visitor Center parking, and turn left/northeast on Wildwood Dr. Go 25 ft and turn left/southeast into the trail parking lot. Take the trail to the lef out of the parking lot, heading down a steep hill to the river to the Mon River Trail. Turning right out of the parking lot is McTrail (see page SW-47) towards Fairmont.
Fairmont: From the West Virginia rest area, follow I-79 south for about 21.4 miles. Take exit 139 towards E Fairmont/Prickett Creek Rd. At the bottom of the ramp turn right/north. Go 0.4 miles and at the “T” turn left/west onto Meadowdale Rd. << more to come >>.
Rest rooms, water: At Prickett’s Fort State Park
Bike shop, rentals: none
Restaurant, groceries: In and near Fairmont, but not close to the Park
Camping, simple lodging: Motels in Fairmont
Swimming, fishing: None along this trail, but fishing access and beach at Prickett’s Fort State Park.
Winter sports: Cross-country skiing.
Wheelchair access: 32” gate.
Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission
PO Box 1258
316 Monroe St
Fairmont WV 26554
Maps, guides, other references
USGS Topographic Maps: Shinnston, Fairmont West <<check>>.
Text version of 16 Nov 2019 based on personal observation while bicycling the entire trail 11/2019. Conditions will have changed; you are responsible for your own safety. Oldest segment check 11/2019.