Decker's Creek Trail

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.

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. The creek has numerous waterfalls and steep drops, so that often the creek is right along side the trail and other times it is 75 to 100 feet below the trail as the trail does a steady climb on the hillside. There is a small snack stand at Sturgisson Chapel (mile 9). Past mile 12 the trail emerges onto the plateau and gets flatter and straighter.  Here it brushes small towns but has no true encounter with towns until Reedsville. There are ample signs of mining activity in the valley, most notably the mine near Greer and battery of coke ovens south of Masontown. Rode spring 2009

The trail connects with the Gasper Caperton Trail (page Error! Bookmark not defined.) 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.

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 asphalt 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

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 Mom River/Gasper Caperton Trails and their 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.

Development plans

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.

Access points

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.

Amenities

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.

Trail organization

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

http://www.montrails.org

Maps, guides, other references

USGS Topographic Maps: Morgantown North, Morgantown South, Masontown

Trail brochure from Mon River Trail Conservancy

Version

Text version of 01 Apr 2009 based on personal observation while bicycling. Conditions may have changed; you are responsible for your own safety. Oldest segment check 4/2009.

 

 

Editor Notes

Rode March 2009 from Mellon church to Morgan Mine (the official end of the trail)

Rode April 2009 from Morgantown to Mellon Church

Got railroad history from http://www.montrails.org/history.shtml "The Mon River / Caperton / Deckers Creek Rail-Trails were once the region's busiest highways, carrying coal and coke, glass, sand, limestone and other items to distant markets. The legacies of frontier life, coal mining, quarrying, and railroading, can be found along the rail-trails and in local museums, historic sites, and antique shops.

The Deckers Creek Trail was originally the Morgantown & Kingwood Railroad when it was completed in 1905, while the Mon River Trail was the Fairmont, Morgantown, and Pittsburgh Railroad."