Seeing a beautiful river and mountains is easy: just jump on your bike in downtown Morgantown and go! The Mon River Trail follows the Monongahela (pronounce each syllable to say it correctly) for 29 flat miles (46.5 kilometers). The six miles (10 km) in Morgantown are paved (also called the Caperton Rail Trail), and as you head out of town, the trail becomes packed gravel and a lot less crowded. Head south, and you’ll come to Prickett’s Fort State Park, home to the living history interpretation of a fort on the frontier of the Allegheny Mountains in colonial America. North takes you six miles (10 km) to the West Virginia-Pennsylvania line. No matter which way you bike, you’ll get great views of the forests and trees around Morgantown.
The Deckers Creek Trail is also part of the Mon Trails network. Instead of heading north or south from the Riverfront Park downtown on the Mon Trail, head east along the creek. The trail’s 19 miles (30.5 km) are more wooded and secluded compared to the route along the river, and a bit steeper too. If you’re interested in history, Arthurdale is just a mile from the trail and interprets the nation’s first 1930s New Deal homestead project. Otherwise, just pedal along and enjoy the views of the small cascades in the creek and the wildlife management area along Upper Deckers Creek.
Experience the vast Cheat Lake by biking 4.5 miles (seven km) along the eastern shoreline. The lake is created by a dam on the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border, and it offers scenic views of the mountains dipping right into the lake. Fall is a spectacular time to see the leaves, but just about any time of year will be picture worthy. This trail is also great for families; it has a playground, picnic tables, and beach area along the way.
If you want to get off the flat trails and try some mountain biking, Coopers Rock State Forest is perfect for an adventure. The 50 miles (80 km) of trails vary from easy to difficult and are great vantage points for viewing the Cheat River Gorge. The light-colored sandstone cliffs stand out against the green forests in the summer, and even though biking uphill might be hard, the view is well worth it.
Check out Big Bear Lake for more mountain biking trails. Located about 45 minutes east of Morgantown near Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, this family-owned park has over 50 miles (80 km) of single-track biking trails that wind through the woods surrounding the small lake. And because this is a private park, there is a daily use fee for the trails.
Did you know that you can bike from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.? Although you have to drive about 45 minutes from Morgantown to access the Great Allegheny Passage in Ohiopyle State Park, you can follow the trail all the way to Pittsburgh. If you go south, you’ll reach Cumberland, Maryland, where you can get on the C&O Canal Towpath, and after about 150 miles (240 km), viola, you’re in D.C. This trail is the one to try if you’re looking for some serious long-distance, multi-day biking trips.