Bottom of Props Run. Sign on Rte 219 across from to Elk River Touring Center
***Note: Pick up local bike trail maps at Elk River Touring Center, Elk River Ski/Snowboard shop, The Dirt Bean Coffee shop in Marlinton, or Mountain Valley Properties log home just past the bank & Exxon.
Driving directions to the top/start of Prop’s Run which is 9.8 miles from the intersection of Route 219 & Mine Rd
Best to have someone drop the bikers off at the top/start of Prop’s run and pick up at Elk River Touring Center parking lot at the bottom. If you donâ€t have this option, then we suggest parking somewhere near the top after finding the beginning of the trail, riding down to ERTC, then back up to the top and your car. This is a 20 mile loop with 1600 feet elevation change. Bring your radios. Some of the locals suggest riding up first because the downhill is very bumpy.
Starting at the intersection of Rte 66 & Rte 219, next to Shaky Jakes, drive 6 miles South and turn Rt. on Mine Road (FR24).
***From here, we suggest that you drive up these roads before biking to become familiar since signs are lacking***
Drive 3.7 miles up to the parking & the start of the Tea Creek Trailhead.
Drive 1.8 miles to a Right turn on FR 24 (small sign). After another 0.8 miles, a sign marks 24C, donâ€t turn and continue straight on the road you’re on.
Drive 0.7 miles to a scenic overlook looking over Slatyfork and the valley., After another 0.2 miles there is a right turn with a White gate and again continue straight on the road You will come to a rusted gate and if opened you can continue driving to the start of Prop’s Run If locked, you’ll have to decide where to be dropped off and bike the rest of the way which is about 2.4 miles
Tea Creek Mountain Trail. (different from Tea Creek Trail)Â Another difficult ride and another ride where youâ€ll need to have someone drop off the bikers and then pick up at the end of the ride.
Drive 15 miles south on 219 to a right on the Highland Scenic Highway 150.Â Drive about 7 miles to the Little Laurel Overlook on your right where the bikers are dropped off.Â The pick up car will need to continue on Highway 150 another 4 miles to the Williams River and wait there..Â
This ride is 6 miles and starts with a very steep run followed by a boulder field.Â Â After about half way, the trail begins to descend to the valley and the Williams River.Â Just after 1/2 way youâ€ll come to another trail to the right which is the lower end of the North Face Trail.Â Donâ€t turn and continue on Tea Creek until the bottom and you reach the Williams River and the Williams River Trail.Â Ride along the trail back to the highway and the bridge over the Williams River
Often referred to as "The Mountain Biking Mecca of the East", there's a big secret in a little town in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains in eastern West Virginia. Some of the best mountain biking in the United States can be found spread somewhat centrally around the tiny town of Slatyfork (pop. 448) in Pocahontas County. Miles and miles (often estimated at over 200) of single track, a little over 100 miles of picturesque rails-to-trails double track on the Greenbrier River Trail (see our review of this great trail) and West Fork Rail Trail, and seemingly endless miles of forest roads can be found in the sprawling Monongahela National Forest, which encompasses 900,000 square miles of public land. Add to that West Virginia State Park property and private areas, and you come up with over 800 miles of trails to ride.
Sharp’s Knob Scenic Ride This is an easy 8 mile ride with incredible scenery and allows you to park and return to your car. Follow the directions above and park at the Tea Creek Trail parking.
Start your ride on Mine Rd, FR24 and continue up the mountain.Â As you ride, you’ll pass a left turn on Rt 135 so continue straight. After 1.8 miles, you come to an intersection and turn right following the sign for FR24 Ride another 1.5 miles and the scenic overlook is on your right Across the street from the Slatyfork view is a dirt road to an old strip mine with a view towards the west. Continue on this dirt road/trail towards the left and down through the forest. This road/trail will end back on a road where you’ll turn left and ride back to Mine Rd/FR24 Turn right and ride back to your car at the Tea Creek Trail.
Greenbrier River Trail This is a completely flat trail that is built on the old railroad tracks and winds along the Greenbrier River. Pack a lunch and enjoy the scenery with all ages. Start your ride in the parking lot at Cass (Rte 66 over the mountain will take you there) and plan on returning to the car at Cass. After about 10/11 miles there is the town of Clover Lick which makes a great destination. There are no restaurants here. If you don’t want to go that far, then there are plenty of places to stop along the way including the town of Sitlington at 3 miles and the town of Stony Bottom at 6 miles. (These are not towns in the way we normally think of towns only a half dozen houses.
Props Run is 8.7 downhill miles in length. Mud, rocks, streams and ridge trails give this ride a distinctive personality.Â Props Run is the one trail that pops up again and again when biking in Slatyfork is the subject. It is supposed to be the signature trail of the area as well as one of the best downhill rides in the United States. For these reasons, this was the only trail I insisted we ride during our visit to Slatyfork. On a foggy and damp morning, Jeff, Christopher and I headed out to ride Props. Leaving from the Elk River Touring Center, we took SR 219 south about 2 miles to FR 24 (Mine Road), which is where the lower mountain trails of the Gauley Mountain system are. We continued up and up on the Forest Road into the fog, eventually parking at the Tea Creek Trail trailhead. Our plan was to ride FR 24 for a couple of miles to Props Run's trailhead and ride the trail down the mountain, back to the Touring Center and then get in another car and go after the car we left at the Tea Creek trailhead. Without two cars, you have two choices. Use the shuttle service available at Elk River Touring Center to take you up the mountain or make a very long and grueling ride up a mountain and back down.
Back at Elk River Touring Center, Christopher had reviewed the map and directions to Props Run trailhead. This would later lead to a very interesting situation. After parking and readying our bikes and gear, we began riding foggy Forest Road 24 north. Christopher mentioned that it would be a mile or two to the trailhead. We soon came to a closed gate on FR 24 that Christopher remembered from the directions. As we rode around the gate, Christopher mentioned that he believed the trailhead to be a short distance from the gate. Needless to say, it wasn't. We rode up and down FR 24 several times and explored a side road looking for the trailhead. One would think that a popular ride like Props Run would have a clearly marked trailhead - one would think. After doubling back several times, we decided to ride back to the car and ride one of the many marked trails near there. The Forest Road was beautiful, but we were itching for some quality singletrack!
It began to drizzle. As we headed back, we passed an area that we had noticed the first time we passed it. It looked like an overgrown, unused and closed trailhead. There was a small piece of blue tape on a tree, a trail sign that had been torn down and was missing the key parts and a "Trail Closed" sign laying on the ground with no real trail in immediate site. I decided to give it look. What was the harm in checking it out, I thought. After riding a short distance on no real trail, I found some nice singletrack. I waited on Christopher and Jeff to catch up. We decided to give it a go and see what was down the trail. After a small stream crossing, the trail became very interesting. The trail was undulating and fun. the trail soon ran up a ridge that had steep 10 foot drop offs to each side offering a lot of excitement! I must have been energized by the fact that I was off a Forest Road, because I unknowingly dusted Jeff. I stopped at the end of the first ridge trail to see if my compadres were going to ride a technical little descent off of the ridge. Christopher was pretty close behind me, but where was Jeff? Later than sooner he loped along the ridge with his head down and a big frown on his face. He was sad and pissed that we left him. After a few choice words we worked things out, gave each other a "man hug" and all was good again
We still didn't know what trail we were on, if it was actually open, where it went, or if it ended anywhere that wouldn't entail a major journey back to our car or the Touring Center. What we did know was that it was a fun trail and that we were finally on some sweet if not very muddy singletrack! The trail ran along a ridge and was predominately downhill. As the rain picked up we found ourselves riding several technical stream crossings and several more very fun ridge trails that were precariously positioned above the area where the trail had been. Christopher was demonstrating his ability to keep us entertained with interesting and comical crashes. We even began to name them. First was the "Mystery Wreck" one where Jeff nor I saw it happen, we rode up to Christopher standing over and staring with a certain level of anger at his then, horizontal bike. There was also the "Slo-mo Endo" an endo that looked violent but slow; the "FAA Disaster" wreck where his bike shook with the fierceness of a 747 with its wings falling off, as he crossed a very rocky creek and ended up in it. The most interesting incident, I dubbed the "Peter Pan". I had stopped at the end of another ridge trail to see if my partners were going to ride the steep but short drop at the end. What I immediately saw, as I turned, was a site I won't soon forget. With no bike in sight, I saw Christopher flying through the air off the ridge trail, legs splayed, arms out, with his feet at least 7-8 feet from the ground! Seems he had slipped on a wet root on the top of the ridge trail and had to abandon ship! It looked like he was trying to fly! He landed safely - I laughed for a long time at the visual of him flying through the air.
It REALLY began to rain soon after we did a little trail maintenance by fixing the log "steps" that helped with riding up and over a large tree that was laying over the trail. Did I mention that it REALLY started raining? It did. If it wasn't muddy enough already, it was getting worse. The mud actually made the ride that much more fun! As we continued down, I mentioned that if Props Run was this good, it would be a great trail! I tried to ride through a small tree that covered the trail. I thought it looked small enough to crumble when I hit it. I was wrong, the tree won. It grabbed my bike and yanked it out from under me. Somehow I landed on my feet and continued running!
Rain, rain, rain.Â it just kept coming! After riding through a picuresque canyon area. we saw the first signs of civilization when we passed a guy walking up the trail with a fishing pole and then a very nice bridge over a beautiful creek falling down the mountain. We stopped on the bridge in the rain to take a few "look how muddy we are" photos. A short distance later we found ourselves at a noticeably lower elevation as we skirted a pretty field to our left. Finally an end of some sort was in site, a sign in the distance marked the end of our mystery ride. We took bets as we rode up to it as to what trail we had been on. It was Props Run after all! It still is a mystery to me as to why the trailhead of the signature run in Slatyfork is in shambles and disarray.
We still had one interesting obstacle to overcome before riding the short distance back down 219 to Elk River Touring Center - crossing the Elk River. We hoisted our bikes and crossed the thigh-deep waters to the other side. This was a first for all of us and I have to say, it was quite a cool ending to our interesting ride! We rode past a lumber-yard and turned right onto 219. Back at ERTC a warm shower, a "sort-of hot" tub that I sat in for all of 5 chilling seconds, and several cold beers awaited!