Parsons - Kerens Loop
Length: 38.8 Miles
Climbing: 2,500 Feet
Climbing Per Mile: 65
Location: This ride is in southern Tucker and northern Randolph Counties and is another beautiful route through farm county and forest. The communities of St. George and Parsons are on the route. .St. George was the original county seat of Tucker County.
This is one of my favorite rides. The scenery is just outstanding. At 65 feet per mile, there is plenty of climbing on the route. There are three significant climbs on the route, the longest being the 1.5 mile climb over Cheat Mountain between Shavers Fork and route 219. These climbs are through forest and therefore shaded from the Sun during hot weather. The flatter parts of the ride are through farm land and provide little relief from the Sun.
I am generally doing the route from Horseshoe Campground, which adds another 7 miles of rolling terrain to the ride.
Water and Food: The description and turn list start in Parsons, which unfortunately is the only source of water and food on the route. You might consider starting at another point on the ride such as Israel Church, to make Parsons a mid ride break. I have often stopped at the St. George Medical Clinic to top off my bottles, but they are closed on Sunday.
PDF Map and Turn List
Ride with GPS file of route created by George Cook
Facebook Slides how of route.
Slides how of route in reverse.
General Route Description
Parsons to U.S. 219. Starting at the Allegheny Highland Rail Trail parking behind the old train station, you head South toward Elkins on the trail. You soon arrive at the Corricks Ford Battlefield site. You will want to take the time to read the interpretive signs. Past the Corricks Ford site, you come to the Kingsford Charcoal Plant. with its huge pile of wood chips. I've always loved the smell of wood chips. Be cautions of trucks entering and leaving the plant. Continuing on the trail you will arrive at Porterwood, where a there is a kiosk and more trail parking. You will come alongside County 39. At the kiosk, you will do a 180 onto route 39, which leads you up Shavers Fork of Cheat. This is the route the Confederate Army took to Corricks Ford. The road here skirts the valley along the edge of the mountain with numerous rollers. 2.4 miles from Porterwood, the road make a sharp downhill right turn and comes to an intersection. Route 39 continues up river to the left and County 47 comes in from straight ahead. You want to continue straight onto route 47 past Irons Chapel.
Route 34 begins as a gentle upgrade along Pleasant Run until to come to the long climb (1+ miles) of the ride. The climb starts out fairly reasonable with 5-7% grade before ramping up to 8-10% nearing the top. Cresting the top, you have a nice rollout down Wilmoth Run to the intersection with US Route 219.
US 219 to State 38: Continuing straight across US 219 onto County 3, the next few miles will be through beautiful pasture land. You will shortly climb up and over the short hill at Israel Church which gives you a great view of the valley and the wind mills on the ridge in the distance. Continuing past the church you intersect a 2 lane paved road that you will turn right on. This become County 1 that you will follow to the county line. County 1 meanders up the valley in a rolling profile. After passing the small community of Montrose the country becomes more forested and then you make a sharp left and begin the 1/2 mile climb to the county line. Crossing the crest, you begin a steep descent with SHARP turns at the top with a lessening gradient and straighter profile nearing the bottom. 23 intersects county 21 and you bare right and continue on 21 through the forest. This road has varying levels of pavement quality, but is generally good. When you near Route 38, beware of the medal open deck bridge you have to cross just before reaching route 38.
Route 38 to Parsons: Taking a right on 38, you have a 1.3 mile gradual downhill run to Route 72 and the Cheat River. Taking a right on 72, you go 0.3 miles and take a left across the Cheat River to St. George. Take a right in St. George on route 1 and past the St. George Academy and the St. George Medical Clinic. The clinic is a good place to top off the water bottles for the final trip to Parsons. There is a rest room in the waiting room where you can get water. Passing the clinic, you will be traveling along the edge of the Cheat River valley with rolling terrain and a couple short steep ramps. After passing the roads to Horseshoe Campground and Sugarland Road you will come to a sharp switchback that begins the last big climb of the day. This is a pretty steady climb with no severe ramps. Topping out, you begin a steep descent with a sharp turn in the middle. Pavement is less the optional, so control your descent speed.
Reaching the bottom, you come out again along a short beautiful stretch of Cheat River. Leaving the river as it goes to the other side of the valley you have some more short steep rollers before crossing the river again and coming back to route 72. Take a left on route 72 for the final 1.7 miles to Parsons. When arriving in Parsons, I cut left toward the Five Rivers Campground and take the back streets to the finish.
Using BikeMap map: Use the "+" and "-" buttons in the upper left to enlarge or reduce the map. Use the button in the upper right to select the type of map to view from the drop down menu. Move you cursor over the profile and it will show the location on the map.
Food and water sources.
Parsons is the only incorporated town and the only place on the route that you can be assured of getting food and water. It has convenience stores, drug stores, restaurants and a grocery store that provide seven day a week service.. There is a new store and outfitter, Patriots Four, that opened in 2013 near St. George at the intersection of Rt. 38 and Rt. 72. They were closed on the Monday I was there so I was not able to check them out, but should give you another option for food and water on the route.
The description and turn list start in Parsons, since it is the largest known community on the route. If you are concerned about have enough water for the ride, you might consider starting at another location along the route, like Israel Church near Kerens to make Parsons more of a mid ride point.
Points of Interest
The Corricks Ford Battlefield is the major point of historical interest along the route. There are several informational signs concerning Corricks Ford along the route. From Parsons to Rt. 219, the bike route follows the route of the Confederate retreat and Federal pursuit, though in the opposite direction as described in the turn sheet. Shavers Fork and the Cheat River provide geological interest.
Parsons is the county seat of Tucker County, and has three building listed on the National Registry of Historic places.
- Joey's Bike Shop, 19 B Third St. Elkins, 304-636-0219
- Elkins Bike Works, 218 Randolph Ave., Elkins 304-636-9670
- Seneca Cycles, Rt. 3, Box 80, Elkins, WV 304-636-5515
- Blackwater Bikes
- Patriots Four has two cabins for rent as well as camping.
- Horseshoe Campground, a national forest campground operated by the YMCA is open June, July, and August.
- Five Rivers Campground on the outskirts of Parsons.
The listing of routes on this site is not a guarantee of the safety of the route. Cycling has inherent risks and riders skills vary. Traffic conditions vary by time of day, season and local events. Road conditions can vary and change and may change dramatically over one winter season. Riders need to ride within their capabilities and be alert for road hazards and traffic at all times.
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