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This East Coast State Just Got Its First Railbike Route — and It's Filled With Waterfall Views

This East Coast State Just Got Its First Railbike Route — and It’s Filled With Waterfall Views

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For over 60 years, the Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad transported coal and lumber along Buffalo Creek in West Virginia. The railroad was one of the last all-steam holdouts, operating until early 1965. Now, a new tour operator is breathing new life into the railway with a fleet of railbikes that run on the rails and have an electric assist.

Rail Explorers — which already operates railbike tours in California, New York, Rhode Island, Kentucky, and Iowa — opened a new location in Clay, West Virginia. The 12-mile round-trip route runs along Elk River and Buffalo Creek and through the lush woodlands of West Virginia.

Highlights include a wrecked train car and high cliffs, along with the Devil’s Sawmill Waterfall, which has long been a local gem and was recently added to the West Virginia Waterfall Trail

Courtesy of West Virginia Department of Tourism

The railbikes travel on the track for six miles before reaching a creekside picnic area where they turn around on the bank of Buffalo Creek and head back to the starting point.

The route is great for groups as each bike accommodates two or four people with an electric assist. Bikes have a custom-built electric motor and hydraulic disc brakes.

“This unforgettable outdoor adventure combines the tranquility of nature with the thrill of railbiking and magic of the railroad,” Mary Joy Lu, Rail Explorers CEO, said in a press release shared with Travel + Leisure. “We are incredibly excited to bring Rail Explorers to Clay, WV. The beauty of this area is unmatched — we are so proud to re-activate this historic railroad that has been a lifeline in the community for over 100 years. This two-hour, eco-friendly activity is fully accessible to people of all ages and abilities, making this a perfect activity for families, friends, and solo explorers.”

Courtesy of West Virginia Department of Tourism

The route complements the opening of the nearby Elk River Trail in 2019. The trail, which remains the newest addition to the West Virginia State Parks system, stretches for over 73 miles and provides easy access to the Elk River, a popular waterway for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.

“We’ve seen an incredible boost to the area since opening the Elk River Trail, and it’s just fantastic to see that success expand even further with the addition of Rail Explorers to our state’s growing tourism economy,” Gov. Jim Justice said in the press release.

The Rail Explorers’ railbike tours in West Virginia operate Thursday through Monday with multiple departure times. A tandem railbike for up to two riders is $80, while a quad railbike for up to four riders is $160. The journey takes 2 hours. Clay County residents are eligible for discounted rides on “Locals’ Days.”

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Articles: 2027

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