Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail In West Virginia

Here is everything you need to know about the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: West Virginia
  • Length: 10 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: West Virginia Division of Highways
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail holds a significant place in the history of West Virginia. Constructed in the mid-19th century, this trail served as a vital transportation route connecting the towns of Weston and Gauley Bridge. The turnpike was established in 1838 and quickly became an essential link between the western and eastern parts of the state.

The construction of the turnpike was a remarkable engineering feat for its time. The trail spanned approximately 100 miles, traversing through rugged terrain, dense forests, and crossing numerous rivers and streams. It was built using hand labor and primitive tools, with workers often having to blast through rock formations to create a passable road. The completion of the turnpike greatly improved transportation and trade in the region, allowing for the movement of goods, people, and ideas.

The Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail played a crucial role during the American Civil War. It served as a vital supply route for both Union and Confederate forces, facilitating the movement of troops, ammunition, and supplies. The trail witnessed several skirmishes and battles, as control over this strategic transportation artery was fiercely contested. The turnpike’s historical significance is further highlighted by the fact that it was part of the larger system of turnpikes that connected the Ohio River to the Kanawha River, contributing to the economic development of the region.

Today, the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail stands as a testament to the ingenuity and perseverance of those who built it. It serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by early settlers and the pivotal role transportation played in the development of West Virginia. The trail continues to attract history enthusiasts, hikers, and nature lovers, offering a glimpse into the past and providing a connection to the rich heritage of the region.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Weston Trailhead: Located in Weston, West Virginia, this is the starting point of the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail. It offers parking facilities and access to the trail.

2. Jackson’s Mill Trailhead: Situated near the historic Jackson’s Mill, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It is a popular starting point for hikers and bikers.

3. Burnsville Lake Trailhead: Located near Burnsville Lake, this access point offers parking facilities and access to the trail. It is a scenic spot with beautiful lake views.

4. Sutton Lake Trailhead: Situated near Sutton Lake, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It is a popular spot for fishing and boating enthusiasts.

5. Flatwoods Trailhead: Located near Flatwoods, West Virginia, this access point offers parking facilities and access to the trail. It is a convenient starting point for those coming from the Flatwoods area.

6. Gauley Bridge Trailhead: Situated in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, this is the endpoint of the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail. It offers parking facilities and access to the trail.

Transportation Available

1. Weston Taxi – Local taxi service providing convenient transportation in the Weston area.
2. Gauley Bridge Shuttle – Shuttle service offering transportation to and from Gauley Bridge and surrounding areas.
3. Weston-Gauley Bridge Bus – Bus service connecting Weston and Gauley Bridge for easy travel between the two locations.
4. Weston Car Rentals – Car rental agency providing a variety of vehicles for exploring the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail.
5. Gauley Bridge Bike Rentals – Bike rental service offering bicycles for rent to explore the trail and surrounding areas.


The amenities available at the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail may vary, but here are some common amenities that you might find:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available along the trail, either at designated rest areas or at trailheads.

2. Parking: Parking areas or lots may be provided at trailheads or access points for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the trail, there might be designated camping sites or areas where visitors can set up tents or camp overnight. These sites may have amenities like fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes grills may be available along the trail for visitors to have meals or snacks.

5. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailheads, you might find amenities like information boards, maps, visitor centers, or ranger stations where you can get information about the trail and its surroundings.

6. Water Stations: Some trails may have water stations or fountains along the route where visitors can refill their water bottles.

7. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, you may come across interpretive signs or panels that provide information about the history, flora, fauna, or geology of the area.

8. Benches and Seating: Benches or seating areas may be placed at regular intervals along the trail, providing visitors with places to rest and enjoy the surroundings.

9. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, you may find trash receptacles along the trail where visitors can dispose of their waste.

10. Accessibility Features: Depending on the trail, there might be accessibility features like wheelchair ramps, accessible parking spaces, or paved paths to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

It’s important to note that the availability of these amenities can vary, so it’s recommended to check with local authorities or trail management organizations for the most up-to-date information on the specific amenities available at the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Weston Super 8 Motel – Convenient lodging option with basic amenities.
2. Gauley Bridge Inn – Cozy inn offering comfortable rooms and a friendly atmosphere.
3. Subway – Quick and tasty fast-food sandwiches for a quick bite.
4. McDonald’s – Popular fast-food chain serving burgers, fries, and more.
5. Pizza Hut – Casual pizza joint with a variety of toppings and sides.
6. Weston Foodland – Local grocery store offering a range of food items and essentials.
7. Dollar General – Convenient store for basic supplies and groceries.
8. Weston Regional Hospital – Nearby medical facility for emergency healthcare services.

Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail Difficulty Notes

The Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans approximately 16 miles and features a mix of terrain, including rolling hills, rocky sections, and some steep inclines. While the trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, it requires a moderate level of physical fitness and endurance. Hikers can expect to encounter some challenging sections that may require careful footing and navigation. However, the trail also rewards adventurers with stunning views of the surrounding wilderness, historic landmarks, and the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of West Virginia.

Features And Attractions

The Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail is a scenic route in West Virginia that offers a variety of attractions along the way. Here are some of the scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other points of interest you can find along the trail:

1. Weston State Hospital (Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum) – A historic mental asylum known for its stunning architecture and paranormal activity.
2. Stonewall Jackson Lake – A beautiful reservoir offering scenic views, fishing, boating, and camping opportunities.
3. Sutton Lake – Another picturesque lake with recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and hiking.
4. Holly River State Park – A serene park with hiking trails, camping areas, and picnic spots.
5. Burnsville Lake – A reservoir surrounded by rolling hills, perfect for fishing, boating, and camping.
6. Summersville Lake – A popular spot for water sports, including boating, swimming, and rock climbing.
7. Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park – A historic Civil War battlefield with interpretive exhibits and hiking trails.
8. Hawks Nest State Park – Known for its breathtaking views of the New River Gorge, this park offers hiking, picnicking, and a tram ride down to the river.
9. New River Gorge Bridge – One of the most iconic landmarks in West Virginia, this steel arch bridge offers stunning views of the New River Gorge.
10. Kanawha Falls – A series of cascading waterfalls on the Kanawha River, providing a picturesque setting for photography and relaxation.
11. Gauley River National Recreation Area – A popular destination for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and fishing.
12. Cathedral Falls – A stunning waterfall located near Gauley Bridge, offering a great photo opportunity.
13. Hawks Nest Rail Trail – A scenic trail that follows the New River, offering beautiful views and opportunities for biking and walking.

These are just a few of the many attractions you can find along the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail. Each of these sites offers its own unique beauty and historical significance, making the trail a must-visit for nature lovers and history enthusiasts.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles and non-motorized vehicles are permitted on the trail.
4. Motorized vehicles, including ATVs and motorcycles, are not allowed on the trail.
5. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may have seasonal restrictions due to weather conditions. Check local advisories before visiting.
6. Camping and fires are not permitted along the trail.
7. Respect private property and stay on designated trail areas.
8. Leave no trace – pack out all trash and litter.
9. Hunting and fishing are not allowed on the trail.
10. Be aware of and yield to other trail users, including hikers and runners.
11. Follow all posted signs and trail markers for safety and navigation.
12. Use caution and be aware of potential hazards such as uneven terrain, wildlife, and natural obstacles.
13. Do not disturb or harm any plants, animals, or natural features along the trail.
14. Alcohol and drug use are strictly prohibited on the trail.
15. Enjoy the trail responsibly and be considerate of other visitors.

Seasonal Information

The Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail is a scenic and historic trail located in West Virginia, offering visitors a glimpse into the region’s rich history and natural beauty. When planning a visit to this trail, it is important to consider the best times of the year to visit and any seasonal closures that may affect your trip.

One of the best times to visit the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail is during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery, creating a picturesque backdrop for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The mild temperatures during this time make it ideal for outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Fall is equally stunning, as the trail is enveloped in a tapestry of colorful foliage, providing a breathtaking experience for visitors. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it a pleasant time to explore the trail and take in the scenic beauty.

It is important to note that the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions in place. During the winter months, the trail may be closed or have limited access due to inclement weather conditions, such as snow and ice. It is advisable to check with local authorities or trail management before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be temporarily closed for maintenance or repairs, so it is always a good idea to check for any updates or closures before embarking on your journey.

Overall, the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors, showcasing the natural beauty and historical significance of the region. Whether you choose to visit during the vibrant spring or the colorful fall, be sure to plan your trip accordingly and check for any seasonal closures to ensure a smooth and enjoyable adventure along this scenic trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance for individuals with disabilities.
2. Accessible Trail Entrance: The trail entrance is designed to accommodate wheelchair users, with a smooth and level surface.
3. Paved Pathway: The trail features a paved pathway, allowing for easy wheelchair navigation.
4. Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available along the trail, equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
5. Picnic Areas: Wheelchair-accessible picnic areas are provided, allowing individuals to enjoy outdoor meals comfortably.
6. Benches: Wheelchair-accessible benches are placed along the trail, providing resting spots for individuals with mobility challenges.
7. Signage: Clear and visible signage is installed along the trail, including braille and tactile elements for individuals with visual impairments.
8. Handrails: Handrails are installed at certain sections of the trail, aiding individuals with mobility difficulties.
9. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available along the trail, designed at an appropriate height for easy use.
10. Trail Loops: The trail offers various loop options, allowing individuals to choose a distance that suits their abilities and preferences.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail is a moderately difficult trail with some steep sections and uneven terrain, requiring proper hiking gear and physical fitness.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail is exposed and can be affected by rain, wind, and temperature fluctuations.
3. Trail Markings: Follow the trail markers and signs to stay on the designated path and avoid getting lost.
4. Wildlife Encounter: Be cautious of encountering wildlife such as snakes, bears, or other animals, and maintain a safe distance if encountered.
5. Trail Conditions: Check for recent trail condition updates before embarking on the hike, as heavy rainfall or other factors may affect the trail’s accessibility.
6. Hydration and Nutrition: Carry enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout the hike, as there are limited facilities along the trail.
7. Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy and comfortable hiking boots or shoes with good traction to navigate the trail’s uneven surfaces safely.
8. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, as parts of the trail are exposed.
9. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers in case of minor injuries.
10. Emergency Preparedness: Inform someone about your hiking plans, carry a fully charged cell phone, and be aware of emergency contact numbers in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Conservation Notes

The Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail, located in West Virginia, holds a conservation status that reflects its importance in preserving natural resources and historical heritage. This trail is recognized as a significant cultural and historical resource, as it follows the route of the historic Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike, which was a vital transportation route during the mid-19th century. The conservation status of this trail ensures the protection and maintenance of its historical significance for future generations.

In terms of natural conservation, the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike Trail traverses through diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and river corridors. These habitats provide essential habitats for a variety of plant and animal species, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the region. The conservation status of the trail ensures that these natural areas are preserved and protected from any potential threats or disturbances.

Efforts are made to maintain the trail’s conservation status by implementing sustainable practices, such as erosion control measures, trail maintenance, and the promotion of responsible recreational use. This helps to minimize the impact on the surrounding environment and ensures the long-term sustainability of the trail. Additionally, conservation organizations and local authorities work together to monitor and manage the trail, ensuring that it remains a valuable resource for both nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

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