12 days in a row without rain made for a perfect trail riding vacation. This was the last riding day.
Mon River Trail North
Deckers Creek Trail
First Ride, Caperton and Mon River Trails.
7 Miles (14 Miles Round Trip).
25 feet between low and high elevation.
Flat grade (0.1%) along the Monongahela River.
Number of intersections: 7
Number of people passed on the trails: About 17.
Second Ride, Caperton and Deckers Creek Trail
23.5 Miles (47 Miles Round Trip)
1000 foot climb over 12 miles.
Climb steady at about a 2% grade.
Worst grade: About 3%.
Number of intersections: About 18
Number of people passed on the trails: 53
Pros: Star City was the shining light on the Morgantown trails as that suburb had free safe parking, restrooms, water fountain, and even a soda machine. There are 45+ miles of trails to get you off the roads in the Morgantown area. Some trail is paved asphalt but most is fairly smooth cinder/dirt. Not very busy trails which is good to avoid people jams. Might be different on the weekends.
Cons: The downtown Morgantown area reminded me of Mobile, Alabama. Litter, shopping carts, and tires floating in Deckers Creek. Another City that does not give a rat's ass what is in their public waterways. Parking was an issue. Guidebook indicated that Hazel Ruby McQuain Park in downtown Morgantown was the hub of trail system. I did not expect there to be parking meters charging 50 cents an hour. I parked nearby where a sign partially hidden by the trees said 2 hour parking only and then rode the north part of the trail. Lots of shady characters hanging around the Park. I later learned the Park area is also a bus station and the two hour parking was only for patrons of a nearby business. Because the same shady characters were at the park when I got back, drinking booze at 9 in the morning and standing on the trail near my parked car, I moved the car a few miles north to Star City where I found a better parking area while riding the north end of the trail. I did NOT feel safe near the Hazel Ruby McQuain Park. Lots of graffiti and what appeared to be drug addicts in the area. Trail wise, I never saw any bathroom on the Deckers Creek trail. A trail about 19 miles long needs restrooms at both ends of the trail, and one in between too. I initially disliked the Deckers Creek Trail because of loud Hwy-7 noise for about 13 miles. Couldn't see the road but you could sure hear the jake brakes on the trucks loud and clear. Plus, I expected to see, according to the Rails-Trails book, "a series of dramatic rapids and waterfalls." For most of the climb out of Morgantown, Deckers Creek was usually hidden from view sometimes literally 100+ feet below the trail. When the creek finally appeared next to the trail, what I saw was hardly dramatic rapids or waterfalls. Thought the ride was a total waste of time until I reached the top of the climb near Falls Run where the trail canopy opened up providing better views across open farmland. No more dense canopy hiding the sun. Another con is you get to ride by the big smelly sewage treatment plant along the Capertown Trail and yet another sewage treatment plant near Reedsville at the north end of the Deckers trail. Car barrier posts were such that you had to slow down to pass between them.
Hindsight: First part of the trip early in the morning was in fog so misty I could not wear glasses. The dampness made the 50 some degree morning even colder. I originally was going to spend two days riding the Morgantown trails but one day in this area was enough for me. I just did not feel safe. Thankfully on the way back, I sped down the mountain at 20+ miles per hour for most of the return trip, got through downtown Morgantown and was back to the car quickly.
Ratings: (1-5 scale, 5 being best)
Trail: 4 (A lot of smooth and a little bumpy.)
Critters: 4 (Deer, turkey, and chickens.)
Scenery: 4 (Varied scenery if you ride enough of the trails.)