This area is known for its coal mining history and this ride will take you by some of that history.
The ride warms up with some of the awesome purpose-built flowy singletrack in the Arrowhead Trail System. After that, you'll drop a couple hundred feet to the historic Kaymoor Trail
, an old roadbed (now singletrack in many places) that connected some of the area mines. This road overlooks the New River a couple hundred feet below.
After reaching the Brooklyn Mine at the far end of the road, you backtrack for a while before passing through the Kaymoor Mine. A steep climb then takes you almost to Fayetteville and then back to the Arrowhead trails.
The route starts at the Arrowhead Trailhead, but you could also use Fayetteville as a base. Head back on to the trail entrance that you passed shortly before the parking lot and take a left onto Dalton
is a great flowy singletrack that was clearly built with mountain biking in mind. It roughly follows the 2,000-foot contour, and it's not super technical except for a few rocky areas, tight turns, and trees close to the trail. Follow Dalton
for about five miles until you reach the Craig Branch Trail
, which is actually an old forest road.
Turn sharp right and head down (about 400 ft descent) Craig Branch Trail
for one mile until the trail dead-ends at Kaymoor Trail
. The mine is to the left, but Kaymoor Trail
is a cool experience, so go right and follow Kaymoor Trail
to its end at Cunard River Access Road. Kaymoor Trail
is an old road several hundred feet above the gorge, so it's relatively flat but it is rugged and can be narrow and challenging in places. You'll catch glimpses of the New River and gorge below, especially after the leaves have fallen.
At the end of Kaymoor Trail
, you can continue onto the Brooklyn Mine Trail
after crossing the Cunard River Access Road. This trail isn't as impressive as the Kaymoor Trail
and is more road-like with a gravel base. Shortly after the Brooklyn Mine, there is a small sign at the park boundary indicating the "end" of the trail. Clearly the old road continues beyond the park boundary, but it isn't apparent if this is a public right of way or private property.
In any case, you'll have to turn around here (or earlier if you get tired of the scenery) and make your way back to the intersection with Craig Branch Trail
. This time, continue straight towards the Kaymoor Mine. The Kaymoor Mine is much more impressive than the Brooklyn Mine. You'll start to encounter signs of the mine around mile 23. There a number of structures outside the mine to explore and interpretive signs explain the history of the mine.
After the mine, Kaymoor Trail
is more road-like (and also more popular with hikers). Watch for other trail users along the descent down to the Wolf Creek Trailhead.
At the Wolf Creek Trailhead, it's time to pay for all that lost elevation. Climb up the paved Fayetteville Station Road about 200 feet to the entrance of Fayetteville Trail
on the right. Now you've got an arduous climb of about 700 ft in 1.5 miles. This climb follows an old road bed though, so for the most part it isn't technically challenging. The climb ends near the Park Loop
, which will take you into Fayetteville for refreshments or as an alternative starting point.
After the two intersections with Park Loop
, the Fayetteville Trail
becomes a true singletrack. This is the most technical singletrack in the loop as it winds its way among the hilltops back to the Arrowhead Trail System. The Fayetteville Trail
ends at a parking area for the Kaymoor Miners Trail (hiking). Continue straight on the road and then turn left to finish the last section of the Dalton
trail before returning to the parking area on Craig Branch Trail
The Kaymoor Mine operated between 1900 and 1962 producing 16,904,321 tons of coal. A town (Kaymoor Top) was built up on the bluff above the river (near the parking area) and miners rode the "haulage" (like a ski lift) down to the mine site midway up the gorge. Additional residences were at the bottom (Kaymoor Bottom) of the gorge. A processing plant and Coke ovens existed down near the river but are now mostly covered in foliage.
The Arrowhead Trail System was built in New River Gorge National Recreation Area by the Boy Scouts in 2011 as one of the single largest service projects in NPS history with a total of 78,544 volunteer hours.