Cycling WV’s capital city
Charleston, WV, is not only the capital of the Mountain State, but also one of the nation’s capitals for cycling.
From scenic river paths to more urban routes, West Virginia will not disappoint when it comes to biking. Whether you’re after an epic all-day ride or just an efficient way to get downtown, Charleston has a wide variety of bike routes.
Here are a few local favorites:
1. Kenna Loop
Distance: 27.7 miles
This short but intense ride will give your legs a solid workout. The Kenna Loop starts just outside of Charleston, off exit 116 of I-77.
It’s flat for the first few miles, but don’t be fooled— you’ll get some elevation gain as it continues up and down several rolling hills for almost 2,000 feet of climb. You’ll especially feel the burn on the Bibbee and Fishers Ridges, but you’ll also have amazing views as a distraction. Ride this route in the spring to see green meadows and fields of wildflowers.
2. Paint Creek
Distance: 45.7 miles
For a longer ride, hop on the Paint Creek Out-and-Back Trail. The route begins at an elevation of 720 feet at the Paint Creek exit off I-77, and ends at 1,630 feet in the small town of Pax, West Virginia. This straightforward route follows mostly major roads, winding along Paint Creek.
Be sure to plan accordingly, because there aren’t a lot of places to stop along the way. Since this is an out-and-back route, you’ll need enough water and supplies to get back to your starting point at the Paint Creek Park-and-Ride.
3. Kanawha City Cycling Loop
Distance: 6.7 miles
You haven’t seen quaint until you’ve explored Kanawha City, WV, and this scenic bike loop takes you right through the incredibly charming town. This path’s relatively flat surface only climbs a total of 30 feet— perfect if you want a leisurely ride.
Cruise along, taking in the sights along the Kanawha River and stop for snacks at one of the many cafes along the way. There are also plenty of small shops to visit in Kanawha City. Most of the route is through residential areas, so you’ll have very little traffic to deal with as you pedal along.
4. Route 60 Bike Path
Distance: 24.29 miles
Route 60, established in the mid-1920s, is a historic highway that stretches across the entire country from Virginia to southwest Arizona. Ride along a section in West Virginia, beginning in St. Albans and ending in the state capitol. This path climbs nearly 600 feet, if you want a bit more of a workout than other flatter, in-town rides. It follows the Kanawha River almost the whole way, which adds scenic river views and a waterfront breeze to keep you cool during warmer months.
5. Jim Ridge Loop
Distance: 43.8 miles
For a taste of the West Virginia countryside, pedal along the Jim Ridge Loop. Start in Charleston, off the 116 exit on I-77 North. Although it begins in bustling Charleston, you’ll quickly escape the crowds as you pedal past the scenic farms and along the rolling hills of the Mountain State.
The Jim Ridge Loop climbs a total of about 2,700 feet up and down the hilly route. Nothing along the way is incredibly steep, but this loop definitely isn’t flat, so pack plenty of water and get ready to be out all day. You’ll ride through the south part of Jackson County and a chunk of Putnam as well.
6. Patrick Street Bridge Ride
Distance: 10.7 miles
For the ultimate bike tour through the best parts of Charleston, WV, cycle along the river to the Patrick Street Bridge. This 10-mile loop begins at the University of Charleston and follows the Kanawha River before crossing over to the other side at the Patrick Street Bridge. Then you head back on the opposite side of the river for the remaining 5 miles. This extremely flat and fairly short route is perfect for a sunset ride over the river.
This post was last updated on July 28, 2020