Pinnacle Rock State Park - Trail Running

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About

Summary

Although it’s one of the smallest parks in the West Virginia State Park system, runners will love the wide, winding switchbacks and amazing panoramic views at Pinnacle Rock.

Written by

Neil Humphrey

Distance

6.0 miles

There are 6 trails in the park that together create 2 good running loops: one is 3.2 miles, and the other is 2.5 miles. You can also easily create your own variations.

Destination Distance From Downtown

70.9 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

The trails at Pinnacle Rock State Park are wide and mostly hard-packed dirt, making the running path itself pretty easy to navigate; but all the trails start at the top of a mountain and head down to Jimmy Lewis Lake.

Time To Complete

1 hours

There are 2 loops at the park that you can run individually or combine. Each loop will take you about 45-60 minutes, or about 1.5-2 hours together.

Seasonality

Summer and Fall

The creek at the bottom of the park gets muddy when it rains or snows, and the steep incline can get very slippery, so it’s best to visit in the summer or fall. The park is full of incredible goldenrod during the late summer.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

Although it is one of the smallest parks in the West Virginia State Park system, Pinnacle Rock is definitely worth the trip. The area gets its name from the giant sandstone boulder that towers above the surrounding landscape. Pinnacle Rock has a little less than 6 miles of trails that will take you through the ruins of an old farmstead and a rural cemetery, into a gorge, and alongside the shores of Jimmy Lewis Lake at the base of the park.

There are 2 great running loops at Pinnacle Rock, made up of 4 different shorter trails ranging anywhere from .7 miles to 1.3 miles. They both start on the Homestead Trail, and the first, at 2.5 miles, follows Homestead down the hill to Cemetery and back up. The second is 3.2 miles, and follows Beaver Pond Trail to Acorn Ridge. There is also another 1.5-miler, the Turkey Trot trail, which is a bit rocky and rooty, but more rolling than the loops, which are either up or down one giant hill. You can add this on for a little extra mileage, or enjoy it as a short run by itself.

What Makes It Great

Runners who aren’t comfortable on single track will love the wide, winding switchbacks in this park. You can blast through the downhills thanks to the solid paths and wide turns. History buffs can stop and take a quick breather at the old farmhouse ruins hidden in the wild groves of goldenrod on the Homestead Trail.

After cruising through the flowers, you will come upon the Beaver Pond Trail, which follows a shaded creek along a steep, narrow ridge before widening at Jimmy Lewis Lake. To complete the loop, turn left up the Acorn Ridge Trail, traveling over winding pathways beneath countless oak trees as you climb to the top of a ridge. Finish up with the Cemetery Trail, where the terrain shifts to gently rolling hills—a welcome relief after 3 straight uphill sections.

Who is Going to Love It

Trail runners with at least a little experience will enjoy this park the most—overall the trail is moderately difficult. The footpaths are hard-packed dirt, and wide enough for 2 runners to run side by side, but there will be a few rocks and roots along the way. What really makes the trails difficult is that you start out downhill, making the return path uphill, which can be challenging and intimidating for novice runners.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

To get to Pinnacle Rock State Park, take Exit 1 at Bluefield off I-77 onto US460W/WV52 North. Follow this road until it splits, where you will continue straight on WV52 North. When you get to Pinnacle Rock, the parking area is to the left.

From the parking lot, take a set of stairs that leads to a shelter with restrooms. To climb to the top of the rock, go left. To get to the trailhead, go right.

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Location

Pinnacle Rock State Park

Route 52 north
Bramwell, WV, 24715
37.343217, -81.348502

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