North Bend to Ritchie Mines WMA Connector Route
A friend and I scouted a primarily back road route from North Bend State Park to the Ritchie Mines WMA recently. The beauty of the terrain and route quality both far exceeded my expectations, and it made for a top-notch scenic and historic back-road mountain bike ride between two great pieces of public land. This route appears on page 34 of the DeLorme West Virginia Atlas and Gazeteer (A-3,B-3,C-3), and is as follows:
Take the North Bend Rail Trail east to Cairo; Take Rt. 31 west (right) in historic downtown Cairo 1/10 mi. to left onto Silver Run road (across the Hughes River); turn right onto Carroll St. to public foot/bike bridge back across Hughes River; go 1/2 mi. south on Rt. 31 to left onto CR 14; after 1/10 mi. turn right (south) onto CR 31-5; cross Rt. 31 directly onto CR 31-6 (Pew Hill); go south to T-connection with CR 26 (Oil Ridge); go right on Oil Ridge to (super) small town of Rutherford; make low-water crossing of Devilhole Creek and continue on CR 26 to CR 17; go left on CR 17 for approximately 2 mi. to right on Mellin Ridge Rd.; go 1/2 mi. to Ritchie Mines WMA.
This route's steepness of terrain, abundance of rock formations, historic structures, and expansive ridge top views compressed into a ride of probably less than 20 miles total (one way) were especially impressive. Couple that with what's available to foot and bike travelers at both North Bend and the Ritchie Mines WMA, and all of a sudden it adds up to days' worth of exercise and exploration that are certainly worth visiting from afar.