Several wonderful trail loops exist just minutes from Thomas, Davis, and Blackwater Falls State Park. Three trail shelters can also be found along these trails. Load your backpacks and your panniers, and make a weekend trip to Blackwater Falls! Park along one of the various pull-off spots along Canaan Loop Road and begin your adventure towards Plantation Trail.
The length of your trip depends from where you embark on your adventure. One of the longest loops would include Plantation Trail, Mountainside Trail, and Pointy Knob Trail, among others. Many shorter loops can be devised using Plantation Trail as the spine of the adventure. Pointy Knob Trail is another great option, although it can be wet (just like the other trails), during wet seasons. Don't miss out on the overnight shelters here! They are marked with vintage signs adorned with modern hieroglyphics:
And fantastic boardwalks (to one of the shelters, anyway)! The trails and bridges in this section of forest are generally kept clear by a dedicated crew of local volunteers and national forest trail crew members.
The trails in this section of Blackwater Wildlife Management Area are very soggy after heavy rains. Plan accordingly during these times of year. All three shelters are placed in wet areas of the forest, so be prepared for bugs if you stay over in the summer months.
One shelter lies at the intersection with Davis Trail and Plantation Trail. Plantation Trail is a beautiful trail that at times feels more like a tunnel through thick rhododendron plants. This trail will always include green leaves, but may also yield flowers and blueberries to the traveler visiting in the summer months. It traverses the landscape south of Davis and intersects with most other trails in the area. Plantation Trail is an enjoyable hike, and a technical mountain bike ride in the summer months.
The second shelter sits near a small stream along Railroad Grade Trail. This shelter is only 1.2 miles from Canaan Loop Road, so it may be more popular than Pointy Knob Shelter. Pointy Knob Shelter is fittingly found along Pointy Knob Trail south of Canaan Loop Road.
Railroad Grade Trail is another beautiful trail that can be enjoyed both on foot and on mountain bike.
Pointy Knob trail is another great trail in this system. Features of Pointy Knob Trail include the cascading creekside trail:
And the dry section of trail as it passes through White Raven Rocks:
Sections of Pointy Knob Trail can be wet year-round. Bog bridges were built years ago, but have since fallen into disrepair. Be prepared for wet feet when you hike this trail!
Adventurers looking for a shuttle option can consider starting a ride heading south from either Blackwater Falls State Park or Canaan Loop Road and heading to Canaan Valley Resort State Park. Several loop options exist within this route, and a section of Allegheny Trail leads from Canaan Loop Road to the park.
Consider making the out and back trip to Table Rock, which some say offers one of the best vistas in all of West Virginia. We'll let you decide on that!