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Trail Race Training – Southside Trail Guide

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Located deep in the New River Gorge and running parallel to the New River, The Southside Trail offers visitors a taste of West Virginia history, as well as an avenue to get outside and get active. The seven-mile trail can be accessed from Cunard, an area that is known for its use as a Lower New River Rafting put-in.

Whitewater rafting the Lower New River, after putting in at Cunard, next to the New River Gorge Southside Trail in Southern West Virginia.

New River Gorge Southside Trail

The trail is located on the footprint of former railroad tracks and provides hikers with a nice, easy, levelly graded trail, which travels directly alongside the river for the entire duration. The flat nature of the trail makes it a great training option for runners and mountain bikers who are new to their respective sports. And, because the trail is out-and-back (not a loop), visitors can choose to do as little or as much of the trail as they desire, heading back to their cars at whatever point they want.

Members of the ACE family visit abandoned coke mines and historic coal mining ruins in the New River Gorge in Southern West Virginia.

Perhaps the best part of the Southside Trail is its proximity to coal-mining ruins. The towns of Red Ash, Brooklyn, and Rush Run were built along the former railroad tracks, the ruins of these towns and their former glory can still be seen. Coke ovens, home foundations, and graveyards can be found for those willing to venture into history.  Allow yourself plenty of time to explore, as some of these ruins are not located directly off the trail. Be cautious, the bridges located on the trail are often slimy and moss-covered.

Whether you’re a hiker, a biker, a runner, a birdwatcher, a nature enthusiast, or a history buff, the Southside Trail offers something for people of all ages.

A mountain biking family rides the New River Gorge Southside Trail with ACE Adventure Resort.