Along Decker’s Creek from Morgantown to Reedsville, WV
Deckers Creek Trail climbs 1000 feet in the 19 winding miles between the Monongahela River and Morgan Mine Rd east of Reedsville. It’s usually close to Decker’s Creek, with WV7 across the creek. The trail on the former railroad grade (Morgantown & Kingwood Railroad) is paved for 3.1 miles to the city limit, and then packed crushed stone for almost 16 miles to Morgan Mine Rd east of Reedsville. The railroad was completed in 1905 and later acquired and operated by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It conveyed coal and coke, glass, sand, limestone to distant markets.
Decker’s Creek Trail
Location Morgan to Reedsville in Monongalia and Preston Counties WV
Trailheads Morgantown, Mellon’s Chapel, Masontown, Reedsville
Length, Surface 19 miles, 3 miles paved in Morgantown, 16 miles packed stone outside the city
Character Uncrowded, wooded, shady, definite grade mile 2-13
Usage restrictions No motorized vehicles
Amenities Bike shop, food, lodging
Driving time from Pittsburgh 1 hour 40 minutes south
The first three miles are in the Morgantown valley, sometimes with a cliff along side, sometimes with the backs of buildings that align Route 7. After leaving Morgantown, the trail is on a bench above the creek. From MP3 to MP12 the trail is a steady climb of 2 to 3%. From MP12 to MP13 the grade flattens out, to about 1%. After MP13 the trail becomes almost level to MP 18, where it resumes climbing. In the climbing section there is generally a steep drop-off on the creek side, and an almost vertical hill on the other side. Deckers Creek has numerous waterfalls and steep drops, so the creek varies from right along side the trail and other times it is 75 to 100 feet below the trail.
At MP 9
Past mile 12 the trail emerges onto the plateau the character of the scenery changes to farm fields. Here it brushes small towns but has no true encounter with towns until Reedsville. There are ample signs of mining activity (lime stone) in the valley, most notably the mine near Greer. Just past MP 14.5, off in the field there is a battery of coke ovens. In 2009 one could cross an old railroad trestle and explore, however in 2019 the trestle was in major dis-repair that it was not possible to get to them or see them. Hopefully the trail group will someday fix up the trestle and they will again become available.
The trail connects with the Gasper Caperton Trail (page WS-23) at the trailhead at the mouth of Decker’s Creek in Morgantown.
In 2006, the Mon River / Caperton / Deckers Creek Trail System was designated a National Recreation Trail.
Morgantown requires all bicycle riders to wear helmets. They have been known to enforce this rule with tickets.
Local history, attractions
Less than a mile away from Reedsville on SR 92 is the Arthurdale Heritage District and Museum. The entire community of Arthurdale is on the National Register of Historic Places, recognized as the Nation’s First New Deal Homestead Community
Extensions of the ride
The north end of the trail connects to the Mon River/Gasper Caperton Trails with 29 miles of trail. At the south end of the trail near mile 19 the trail continues on as a two track ATV trail. It appears perfectly adequate for a mountain bike, although probably to rough for a road or touring bike.
From Reedsdale a 1.1 mile side trail is planned to go to Arthurdale Heritage District and Museum. The entire community of Arthurdale is on the National Register of Historic Places, recognized as the Nation’s First New Deal Homestead Community.
From the end of the trail near mile 19, there are hopes to continue on to Kingwood and connect up to the growing trails along the Monongahela River.
Vicinity: Directions begin headed south on I79 at the West Virginia rest area near the PA/WV state line. To get here from Pittsburgh, take I79 south.
Morgantown trailhead: From the West Virginia rest area follow I-79 south for about 3.3 miles. Take exit 155 for Star City and West Virginia University. At the bottom of the ramp, turn left/east following the signs for “to 7”. Go 0.4 miles, and at the tee turn right/east onto Route 7 East. Follow Route 7 for about 3.5 miles. Where US19 turns right/west across the river, and SR7 turns left/east continue on US119 South for about 200 feet. At the bus garage turn right, towards the river and go 100 feet to the trailhead parking. This lot is also the trailhead parking for the Gasper Caperton Trails. Start your trip from here. As you face the river, go to your left about 300 feet and then turn left to follow the Decker Creek Trail rather than crossing the bridge over Deckers Creek.
Marrilla Recreation Center trailhead: From the West Virginia rest area follow I-79 south for about 3.3 miles. Take exit 155 toward West Virginia University. At the bottom of the ramp, turn left/east following the signs for “to 7”. Go 0.4 miles, and at the tee turn right/east onto Route 7 East. Follow Route 7. Go about 1.4 miles and watch for Old Decker’s Creek Rd to fork to the right. The trail crosses just after this turn. Park nearby.
Vicinity: Directions begin where SR7 passes under I-68. To get here from Pittsburgh, take I79 south. From the West Virginia rest area just across the PA/WV state line, follow I-79 south for about 3.3 miles. Take exit 155 toward West Virginia University. At the bottom of the ramp, turn left/east following the signs for “to 7”. Go 0.4 miles, and at the tee turn right/east onto Route 7 East. Follow Route 7 as it twists and turns (not easy). In about 3 miles you will pass under I-68.
Mellon’s Chapel trailhead: This trailhead parking is not available on Sundays from 9Am to noon, and on Wednesdays from 6 PM to 9PM. After passing under I-68, continue for about 2.0 miles. Just after passing the sign for Dellslow, follow the trail signs by taking the sharp right turn around the tavern/bar. Continue up hill, first a left hand fork, then a right hand fork, always taking the steepest way up hill. About 0.4 miles up the hill there is Mellon Chapel on your left. Turn left into the church’s parking area between the cemetery and the trail.
Masontown trailhead: After passing under I-68, continue for about 9.3 miles to Masontown. At the near edge of town take the sharp u-turn to the right/west onto Bridgeway Ave. Go about 0.2 miles and you should see the trail on your right. Take the right/west turn onto Sand Plant Rd. GO 200 feet and park in the trailhead parking lot on your right.
Reedsville trailhead: After passing under I-68, continue for about 12.8 miles to Reedsville. Turn right/south onto SR 92. Go 0.4 miles. Just after crossing the trail, turn right/west into the trailhead parking lot.
Rest rooms, water: Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park at the Morgantown trailhead.
Bike shop, rentals: Wamsley Cycles, 709 Beechurst Ave, Morgantown (no rentals) http://www.wamsleycycles.com, Pathfinders of WV Ltd, 235 High St, Morgantown, WV http://www. pathfinderwv.com, Whitetail Cycles no longer in business.
Restaurant, groceries: in Morgantown, none along the trail.
Camping, simple lodging: in Morgantown, none along the trail.
Swimming, fishing: The trail is parallel to Deckers Creek although for much first 11 miles the creek is far down a steep bank, occasionally coming up to trail level. The creek does have an orange tinge (acid mine drainage). Friends of Decker Creek have a goal of fishable by 2010 and swimmable by 2015. See http://www.deckerscreek.org/
Winter sports: [[[find]]]
Wheelchair access: OK, except the trail is steeper than your usual rail trail.
The Mon River Trails Conservancy was founded in 1991 to acquire, develop and manage the Deckers Creek and Gasper Caperton trails.
Mon River Trail Conservancy
PO Box 282
Morgantown, WV 26507-0282
Maps, guides, other references
USGS Topographic Maps: Morgantown North, Morgantown South, Masontown
Trail brochure from Mon River Trail Conservancy
Text version of 01 Apr 2009 based on personal observation while bicyclingMorganThown (MP0) to Mellon Chapel (MP6 4/2009, Mellon Chapel to end near Reedsville (MP19.5). Conditions may have changed; you are responsible for your own safety. Oldest segment check 4/2009.