If you're looking for something to eat after the ride, Newport has a couple of options. B & J's, The Jug or Station Pizza (St. Mary's WV across the bridge) are all good choices.
When traveling up Leith Run Rd from SR 7, you'll see a stand of pine trees along the road just before the road crossing of the Jackson Run Trail
. There is enough room to park a few vehicles roadside along the stand of pines. It's a grassy area but offers enough room to get your vehicle completely off the road.
From here, you'll ride a couple hundred feet up the road and take a left on the Jackson Run Trail
. The trail shares an entrance with an oil well service road but approximately 50 feet after a small creek crossing, the singletrack departs to the left.
The trail begins by skirting along the edge of a powerline right of way for a short distance before making it's way into deeper woods. Slowly working it's way up a fern-filled valley, the trail begins gaining more elevation, crossing the ridge top and descending into a high valley on the other side. At this point, the Jackson Run Trail
intersects the Archer's Fork Loop Trail
. You'll take a right on Archer's Fork Loop Trail
beginning the first of four major climbs and descents on the loop.
The first section, known as Jackson Run Hill, rewards you with a fast-rolling, ridge top and a flowing downhill ending with a technical traverse through a rock garden before reaching the crossing of Irish Run Rd. After crossing Irish Run, you'll enter an area known as seven caves. Seven caves is home to the largest rock outcroppings on the route and is a cool place to hop off the bike and explore a bit.
After your next road crossing, you'll begin a climb known to locals as "Thelma's Hill", named after an elderly woman who lived near the trail there for many years. At the top of this hill, you'll see a trail intersecting on the right. Near the trail intersection is a sign point left that says "Great Cave". You'll stay to the left here, continuing on the Archer's Fork Loop Trail
. The trail to the right is a spur that leads to a trailhead parking area at Saint Patrick's Cemetery.
From the top of the hill, the trail drops quickly and after this initial high speed section, the trail rolls out onto a flat area above the "Great Cave". Watch for the singletrack turning a hard left and continuing down the valley, along the hillside. The next feature that you'll pass is the "Natural Bridge", a natural stone archway spanning across a small valley. After the Natural Bridge, you'll do a short climb and the trail crosses a dirt road (TWP 411/Saint Patrick's Cemetery Rd).
Continue straight across the road to follow the trail. A left on this road will drop you down to Irish Run Rd and a right will take you to the trailhead parking area at Saint Patrick's Cemetery. The next two miles are rolling and descending with some technical rock gardens.
At the bottom of the hill, you'll follow the valley through a mix of pines and open bottom land. This short section can get a little weedy in the summer but it's less than a mile so don't despair! Near the end of this flat section through the valley, you'll pass the intersection with the Shay Ridge Trail
on your right. Shortly after the trail intersection, you'll cross Archer's Fork Creek. At times, the creek can be fairly deep (knee deep). During most of the summer, the crossing is shallow enough to ride. After the creek crossing, get your game face on.
After crossing the creek, you begin a substantial climb, known to locals as "Stone Bridge". The climb is named after the crumbling remnant of an old stone bridge that the trail crosses. The singletrack climbs up and enters a clearing at an oil well site. Continue past the well, across the clearing and follow the well access road on the other side. After approx. 0.5mi, you'll pass a gate and continue for roughly another 0.5mi before reaching the intersection of the 9 Bell Trail
You'll see the 9 Bell Trail
on your right, continue by turning left on Archer's Fork Loop Trail
. From here, you have a descent, a climb, and a descent, and you're back to the Jackson Run Trail
. Turn right and you're on the home stretch!