Valley Falls State Park is a great park to train for endurance and aerobic capacity in Fairmont. Most of the trails are on old fire-service roads turned easy-to-ride doubletrack, so you’ll get a good aerobic workout just getting to the park. But, things start to escalate quickly once you head up the steep ridge, so be ready for a heart-pounding, leg-burning workout. Descending in this park can be a rush, depending on trail conditions.
What Makes It Great
The majority of the trails at Valley Falls are directional, making it easy to create a flowy ride. The main trails are largely crushed limestone, so there isn’t a great risk for slipping on wet rocks or roots in damp conditions, but it is a possibility that the trails could wash out in intense periods of rain. The singletrack that winds inside the park is more technical, with plenty of rocks, roots, logs, and fun built-in trail features.
The most popular trail at the park is the 10-mile Valley Falls loop, which has almost 1,400 feet of climbing and descending. There is a combination of long, lung-sucking climbs and a series of short, punchy climbs. The .9-mile Glady Trail has some technical climbing when you link trails clockwise, and the short, .7-mile River Trail has some technical trail features like logs and rocks. If you want to avoid a lot of climbing, stick along the river with the 2.1-mile Deer Trail. Although this ride is flatter, you still get to have fun crossing ravines and bridges, and riding singletrack.
Who is Going to Love It
Valley Falls State Park is perfect if you are training for an endurance race or keeping up fitness. With almost 1,400 feet of climbing and great loop options, you can tackle this park without getting lost in the woods. The majority of it is doubletrack, so riders training for a cyclocross race will enjoy the workout among beautiful scenery without having to suddenly tackle a rock garden.
If you are looking for a technical trail, stick close to the river, and you’ll find some log, rock, and creek crossing fun. You can also explore some of the downhill singletrack with large drops.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From I-79, take exit 137 and follow WV-310 S for about 11 miles, following signs for 310 S along the way. Turn right onto Valley Falls Road/Rock Lake at the Valley Falls State Park sign. Stop at the first gate station and pick up a map, then continue for about 1 mile to the parking area.
The Rhododendron Trail starts the Valley Falls loop and will give you a good sense of the park. Be sure to give yourself enough time to ride, because the park closes at dark and you can’t leave your car there overnight.