The North Bend Rail Trail's 72-mile length follows the right-of-way of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. This section of the railroad line was originally built by the Northwestern Virginia Railroad. The line was built between 1851 and 1857. When the line was finished it was sold to the B&O Railroad.
This B&O track was a major supply line for the Union Forces during the Civil War. The tunnels on the line had a wooden structure inside of them. The Southern Army made numerous raids on this section of the B&O, burning tunnels and tearing up tracks.
After the Civil War the tunnels' wooden interiors were replaced with brick, and stone or brick was applied to the exterior ends. Many of the tunnels you pass through on the North Bend Rail Trail have the dates the new tunnels were reconstructed at the top of the entrance to the tunnel.
The B&O Railroad was sold to CSX which decommissioned this section of the trail in 1988. The tracks were removed.
The North Bend Rails to Trails Foundation was formed at this time. The Foundation purchased 72 miles of right of way. The trail is part of North Bend State Park. The park is the controlling body for the trail. The Foundation is a fundraiser and advocate for North Bend Rail Trail.
For a more complete history and photos of the B & O Line see HERE
By design, the North Bend Rail Trail is a wilderness trail. Born before the Civil War, the railroad was the first owner of the path westward to expand a new America through the wilderness. Fast forward to the 21st century and the path still carries passengers through that same wilderness. Although there are many trails that are paved, the North Bend Rail Trail remains just as it was intended to be: a crushed-limestone trail. This gives users a unique hike, bicycling or horseback ride in the wilderness. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail. Areas in some towns are blacktopped, but once you get out of town, you experience the wilderness again.
The North Bend Rail Trail is a multiuse recreational trail operated by the West Virginia State Park system. The 72 mile trail was formerly the main line of the B&O (later CSX) railway. The NBRT covers 72 miles from near I-77 outside Parkersburg WV in Wood County to Wolf Summit WV in Harrison County. It is part of the 5,500 mile coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail. The NBRT passes through 10 tunnels and crosses 38 bridges. Easily accessible from north/south interstates 77 and 79, the trail roughly parallels US Route 50 east and west.
Today there are new challenges for the North Bend Rail Trail. Weather constantly changes the trail. A Federal grant of more than $1.05 million will begin this summer to remedy flooding and erosion in Doddridge and Harrison Counties.
The North Bend Rails-to-Trails Foundation, Inc., has partnered with the Rail Trail Conservancy to make the NBRT part of the Industrial Heartlands Trail – an effort to create a nearly continuous 1,400 mile loop through Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia. The NBRT will be the “southern anchor” of the national trail. In June, nearly 130 bike riders from 26 states took part in the Rail Trail Conservancy’s Sojourn. Bikers ranged in age from seven to 77 and spent four days on the trail.
A new shuttle service called Quest is now available for bikers who want to travel the trail and then return to their point of origin. Call North Bend State Park for details at 304.643.2931. How can you help the North Bend Rail Trail? Consider becoming a member of our Foundation and preserve part of our nation’s history: The North Bend Rail Trail.
P.O. BOX 206
CAIRO WV 26337