Winter Hiking: Greenbrier River Trail

Nestled among the mountains lies the Greenbrier River Trail, a 78-mile former railroad track that passes through numerous small towns and offers the perfect backdrop for a leisurely winter walk.

The longest rail trail of its kind in West Virginia, the Greenbrier River Trail snakes along the river and crosses 35 bridges, travels through two tunnels and provides a glimpse of some of the most remote areas in the state.

As the temperatures drop, the river may freeze over in spots and the mountainsides cover in snow and the Greenbrier Trail transforms into a winter wonderland. Accessible for hikers, bikers and horseback riders, the river trail is mostly flat and perfect for most ages. In the winter, the dirt and gravel path covers with snow which makes it one of the best cross-country ski destinations in the area. There are also campsites along the trail if you’re looking to spend a few days along the river.

Take note – you won’t have cell phone service while hiking. Part of the trail runs through the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000-square-mile area that covers the eastern half of West Virginia. This quiet zone is designed to protect the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory from interference. This telescope is the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope!

Whether you tackle two miles or all 78, there are places to stop along the way if you need a break. After hiking on the trail, stop by Lewisburg for a bite to eat. Enjoy the charm of a fine French Bistro at The French Goat or enjoy a cold craft brew at Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company.