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EasyRider
06-07-2018, 07:58 AM
My family is visiting Blackwater Falls State Park in WV this weekend, and I'm looking for rides in the area. I came across the canyon trail and it sounds like a good option to do with my 4-year old son. I'll be riding a rigid mountain bike, pulling a Weehoo trailer. The promo photo at the link below shows a child on a trail-a-bike so we're golden, right?

http://wvrailtrails.org/rail-trail/blackwater-canyon-trail/

If you've ridden the trail before, I'd be interested to hear your impressions. My son and I ride daily on this rig so if the trail isn't a cakewalk, that's fine. I'm a little curious about how it'd be if the trail is wet and how steep it is. Probably we'd start in Thomas, WV, ride to the halfway point (or some recommended scenic spot) and turn around.

huskerdont
06-07-2018, 08:46 AM
My family is visiting Blackwater Falls State Park in WV this weekend, and I'm looking for rides in the area. I came across the canyon trail and it sounds like a good option to do with my 4-year old son. I'll be riding a rigid mountain bike, pulling a Weehoo trailer. The promo photo at the link below shows a child on a trail-a-bike so we're golden, right?

http://wvrailtrails.org/rail-trail/blackwater-canyon-trail/

If you've ridden the trail before, I'd be interested to hear your impressions. My son and I ride daily on this rig so if the trail isn't a cakewalk, that's fine. I'm a little curious about how it'd be if the trail is wet and how steep it is. Probably we'd start in Thomas, WV, ride to the halfway point (or some recommended scenic spot) and turn around.

Hey, I've not ridden it but this is the trail we use to huck our boats in for the put in of the lower Blackwater river (maybe a mile in from the gate). That portion at least is not as easy as that picture. It is steeper than a rail trail and can be washed out, and can also have trees down to carry over at times (although you may get lucky and there'll be none). The part out along the road is flatter than the portion once you go through the gate and pass Douglas Falls, so if you find your son isn't up to it or the trailer is a bit much, turning around sooner rather than later would be a plus.

EasyRider
06-07-2018, 09:49 AM
Hey, I've not ridden it but this is the trail we use to huck our boats in for the put in of the lower Blackwater river (maybe a mile in from the gate). That portion at least is not as easy as that picture. It is steeper than a rail trail and can be washed out, and can also have trees down to carry over at times (although you may get lucky and there'll be none). The part out along the road is flatter than the portion once you go through the gate and pass Douglas Falls, so if you find your son isn't up to it or the trailer is a bit much, turning around sooner rather than later would be a plus.

Thanks. My thinking is we'll start in Thomas, head towards Douglas Falls and follow the north fork to where it meets the Blackwater river and probably turn around. Google maps says it's a steady 350ft descent over 3.5 miles, so that shouldn't be too hard, even if there are some obstacles in the path.

hozn
06-07-2018, 12:38 PM
I don't think I've ridden that specific trail, but from the comments it sounds like it is more technical than it sounds. E.g. "First few miles of The Blackwater Canton were very much like a Standard Rail Trail, than the single track started".

I would advise that taking a Weehoo trailer off-road is actually a terrible idea. Yeah, I know they show it in the photos, but in my experience it is a complete lie. Because of how the Weehoo attaches to the seatpost (sits on a shim), you really can't go over any bumps without risking the attachment sliding up off of the shim -- best-case causing extreme jolting (and requiring a stop to fix it) and worst-case is probably it destroying your seatpost and ending your ride. Also, your kids are sitting right on top of the wheel without any suspension; they can't stand up for the rough stuff like the adult on the bike can. (Well, the adult on the bike can't really stand up with a Weehoo in tow either, due to balance.) And, of course, riding over logs or other large obstacles is out of the question.

I tried taking my son off-road for a tiny stretch on relatively tame local trails. It was a disaster.

I've ridden around Davis a fair bit (Revenge of the Rattlesnake race for a few years and then some "road" riding on Canaan Loop Rd more recently) and the off-road trails there are in general extremely technical. And Canaan Loop Rd turns into a very technical jeep road too -- but is so much fun. I definitely recommend riding there -- on- or off-road -- and hope that you're able to make it work one way or another.

VA2DC
06-07-2018, 01:03 PM
A group of us rode that trail from Thomas in early May. While it's a rail trail, it was a steep narrow-gauge railroad that hauled lumber, coal, and coke out of the area. There are some of the old coke ovens and informational markers not too far from the start. It wasn't raining while we rode, but had been raining most of the week. The trail was solid and mostly well-drained--no problems sinking in mud. You're on a dirt road for a bit over a mile before you're back on trail near Douglas Falls. So your 3.5 mile out-and-back should be doable. But it's going to feel steeper than you might think, especially if you're pulling a trailer. Here are some options:

1. If you have an extra vehicle or a good samaritan in your group to stage a shuttle, you could ride one-way all the way down to Hendricks, Hambleton, or Bretz. But beyond the Douglas Falls, the trail gets a lot bumpier. Think packed railroad ballast rather than the fine gravel on the C&O.

2. You could start in Hendricks or Bretz and head west on the Allegheny Highlands Trail (http://highlandstrail.org/) toward Parsons and Montrose. The trail is paved and pretty flat in this section. West of Parsons, you ride by the Kingsford charcoal plant. There are also a number of historical markers for Corricks Ford Civil War Battlefield between Parsons and the Kingsford plant. The AHT currently closed from mile marker 15-17, west of Moore.

3. Breakfast or lunch at Flying Pigs in Thomas is worth the stop. The biscuits are great. Mountain State Brewing is also worth a visit.

Have a great visit!

mstone
06-07-2018, 01:19 PM
I would advise that taking a Weehoo trailer off-road is actually a terrible idea. Yeah, I know they show it in the photos, but in my experience it is a complete lie. Because of how the Weehoo attaches to the seatpost (sits on a shim), you really can't go over any bumps without risking the attachment sliding up off of the shim -- best-case causing extreme jolting (and requiring a stop to fix it) and worst-case is probably it destroying your seatpost and ending your ride. Also, your kids are sitting right on top of the wheel without any suspension; they can't stand up for the rough stuff like the adult on the bike can. (Well, the adult on the bike can't really stand up with a Weehoo in tow either, due to balance.) And, of course, riding over logs or other large obstacles is out of the question.

I never had the shim come off (I can't really see how it could, unless yours was looser or something) but +1 for the rest. It would be a rough ride for the kid.

Plus, even with fenders, rough stuff coming off the bike goes right into the passenger. I loved when the kids were in the weehoo, but I was choosy about where we went.

hozn
06-07-2018, 01:22 PM
I never had the shim come off (I can't really see how it could, unless yours was looser or something) but +1 for the rest. It would be a rough ride for the kid.

Plus, even with fenders, rough stuff coming off the bike goes right into the passenger. I loved when the kids were in the weehoo, but I was choosy about where we went.

Well, it's not that the shim comes off. It's that the hitch sleeve (i.e. that attaches to the Wehoo and slides down over the shim) could slide up and off the plastic shim. That is what's happened to me (on several occasions -- though usually only when trailer is empty; the only time it happened with a rider in it was when it was off-road). Hopefully that makes more sense.

mstone
06-07-2018, 01:30 PM
Well, it's not that the shim comes off. It's that the outer sleeve (that attaches to the Wehoo and slides down over the shim) could slide up and off the plastic shim. That is what's happened to me (on several occasions -- though usually only when trailer is empty; the only time it happened with a rider in it was when it was off-road). Hopefully that makes more sense.

probably heavily dependent on seatpost diameter and tolerances--my shim was much more tightly attached to the hitch than the seatpost; when it moved, both pieces moved.

hozn
06-07-2018, 01:46 PM
probably heavily dependent on seatpost diameter and tolerances--my shim was much more tightly attached to the hitch than the seatpost; when it moved, both pieces moved.

Yeah, that's a good point. If the shim moves with the hitch, then this particular issue won't be much of a concern. (Though I think probably still not a great idea to try to ride any trails w/ obstacles or bumps.)

VA2DC
06-07-2018, 02:17 PM
Given the seatpost/shim/weehoo discussion, I suggest considering my 2nd option:

2. You could start in Hendricks or Bretz and head west on the Allegheny Highlands Trail (http://highlandstrail.org/) toward Parsons and Montrose. The trail is paved and pretty flat in this section. West of Parsons, you ride by the Kingsford charcoal plant. There are also a number of historical markers for Corricks Ford Civil War Battlefield between Parsons and the Kingsford plant. The AHT is currently closed from mile marker 15-17, west of Moore.

I'll add to this that you go through a city park in Parsons and can find some eating places in town.

EasyRider
06-08-2018, 08:02 AM
Given the seatpost/shim/weehoo discussion, I suggest considering my 2nd option:

I'll add to this that you go through a city park in Parsons and can find some eating places in town.

Thanks all. We're going to give the highlands trail as VA2DC suggests, if the weather holds. I'll be back to do Canaan Loop Rd and the Canyon trail on my NFE sometime, sans WeeHoo :)

EasyRider
06-11-2018, 12:08 PM
Thanks all. We're going to give the highlands trail as VA2DC suggests, if the weather holds. I'll be back to do Canaan Loop Rd and the Canyon trail on my NFE sometime, sans WeeHoo :)

The weather held and Highlands Trail turned out fine. We drove to Thomas for breakfast at Flying Pigs, then drove to Hendricks and parked. We pedaled about a half mile up the Canyon Trail to see what we'd missed by driving from Thomas to Hendricks instead of taking the trail. The surface wasn't too hard on the kid, but I could tell my forearms would have gotten pretty tired after keeping the WeeHoo on a good line for 10 miles. So, we turned around and headed down the Highlands Trail, which was paved and empty. I think we saw at most a dozen other trail users on our 12 mile out to Porterwood and back. The ride highlight was being chased by a mother goose near the Kingsford plant. The river was very pretty in some places, but in general the scenery was typical of most rail trails. The more interesting views, I think, are higher up the mountains. On that note, we did drive out to where the pavement ends on Canaan Loop Rd., on our way to the Lindy Point Overlook. I'm looking forward to doing the loop road solo, maybe after the leaves fall.

hozn
06-11-2018, 09:19 PM
Awesome. Yeah, I was out there for Columbus Day weekend a couple years ago. My only real ride was Canaan Loop rd; it was fantastic!https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180612/cfd27a86fb9b0c3072b5a59c7ab1dfff.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180612/efb061c6d5f183e5381068999afdd2e6.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180612/27e9c94ae90160c7d68a80295be819bf.jpg