Buckle Up: Top Trail Picks for Your Panhandle Adventure
West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle is well known for its industrial history, but it’s also a great place to take in Appalachia’s beautiful scenery. Brooke and Hancock Counties offer a variety of hiking and biking options for all levels of adventure. The breathtaking views are sure to create lasting memories, and you might even start humming a little “Country Roads” along the journey.
To get you started, we’ve created a list of some of our favorite trails in the area.
Tomlinson Run State Park in New Cumberland is the best spot In Hancock County for forested hills and native wildlife. The wilderness area of the park offers views of rocky cliffs, a serene stream, and winding paths, while the developed portion of the park has a wide array of recreational activities. Laurel Trail is a terrific 2.1 mile loop that follows Tomlinson Run Stream into the wilderness area. If you want to add some length to the trip, the White Oak Trail branches off to cover the length of the wilderness area towards the Ohio River. The Big Foot Trail is another favorite, as it follows Tomlinson Run Lake’s shoreline for 1.2 miles. Finish the trail near the picnic area for a great lunch spot. Need more time to explore the park? Stay overnight in one of Tomlinson’s yurts, or pitch your own tent at one of the campsites.
More interested in getting around on wheels? The Panhandle Trail starts in Weirton, West Virginia and follows an old rail line for 29 miles into Carnegie, Pennsylvania. Part of the federal rails to trails program, the crushed stone path passes over several small bridges, rivers, and creeks. Rolling hillsides, quaint towns, and seasonal flora are great opportunities for photos. Experienced bikers take advantage of the trail’s link to Washington D.C. via the Montour Trail and Great Allegheny Passage.
The Yankee Rail Trail is the perfect place for a short walk with small town charm. Take the opportunity to check out the heart of downtown Wellsburg. You’ll pass local shops, city hall, and even a historic log cabin. At its southern end, the Yankee Trail melds seamlessly into the 7-mile Brooke Pioneer Trail. Eventually, this links with the Wheeling Heritage Trails to form an uninterrupted route to Wheeling.
If you prefer to hike while playing a game, the Bud and Carol Billiard Disc Golf course at Brooke Hills Park is a hole in one. The 18-hole course starts near the pool and circles around the rolling hills in the back of the park. Bring your own discs for a fun activity the whole family can enjoy! Afterwards, continue the competition at the park’s mini golf course, or stop by the pool to cool off.
Our riverfront towns and wildlife management areas offer additional trail options, but these are a few good places to get started. Be sure to pick up a map at our Visitors Center in Weirton before heading out on your next adventure!