We spent our last evening walking along the old rail trail of Hawks Nest State Park. West Virginia use to be one of the country’s leading coal mining areas and trains would criss cross throughout the state transporting that coal. But with the end of coal mining the trains fell to the wayside. But the route of the train has been preserved in rail trails. We started out on the trail near what use to be the train station of Anstead and made our way down the tunnel like path of green.
The trail then gives way to a boardwalk that was built on top of the old rails. It was amazing to be able to see the original rails winding their way through the trees with some incredible views of the river below.
The last stretch of the trail continues to follow along the river on one side and dramatic rocks on the other side. This trail is a little over a mile and leads visitors down to the main area of the park. It was such a beautiful walk giving a small glimpse into the history of the state and imagining getting to see this from the window of a train.
The trail ended at the visitor center of the park where there is a restaurant and areas to play. In the summer they offer gondola rides from the top of the mountain down to the river below giving a perfect view of the surrounding mountains.
Rail trails are great ways to take a lovely walk and to see a part of the state that use to be only accessible to those in charge of moving coal from one point to another.