Picture this–beautiful vistas surrounded by dense moss and spruce trees, you can hear songbirds and the riffles in the water, a gorgeous waterfall spilling into the Cheat River below, and miles and miles of peaceful trail to hike, bike, and camp (311 miles to be exact).
The Allegheny Trail (ALT), has it all, running north to south from Pennsylvania through West Virginia, meandering through many towns and counties. Section 2 of the ALT, which winds through parts of Randolph County, boasts some of the County’s most iconic spots, along with some hidden gems just waiting for recreationists to discover. Some must-see spots along the ALT include Gaudineer Knob, the High Falls of Cheat Trail, and the Glady River.
What many travelers, recreationists, and residents in Randolph County don’t know, is that the majority of ALT’s maintenance is primarily volunteer-run. As we move from Spring into Summer, ALT is excited to share upcoming trail work opportunities and events, and bring outdoor-minded folks together who’d like to help make Section 2 of the ALT shine.
We sat down with Marissa Bennett, Section 1 Coordinator, and Nicolle Sawczyszyn, Outreach and Admin Coordinator to discuss all things ALT and their upcoming W5 – Woods’ Wacky Week of Work and Welaxation event hosted by the West Virginia Scenic Trail Association. Check out the interview Q+A below!
Elkins-Randolph County Tourism: What’s the event called and when will it take place?
Marissa & Nicolle: The event is called W5 – Woods’ Wacky Week of Work and Welaxation and is hosted by the West Virginia Scenic Trail Association! This weeklong event begins on June 16th at 5pm and ends on June 23rd around noon.
Elkins-Randolph County Tourism: Wow—that’s a cool event name! What’s the inspiration behind it?
Marissa & Nicolle: The event is named after our longtime volunteer, Doug Wood, who has been part of the ALT since 1976. Doug has decades of experience and stories to share to help ensure it’s a fun time for all involved.
Elkins-Randolph County Tourism: Where will the event take place?
Marissa & Nicolle: The weeklong event kicks off at Stuart Recreation Area. This will be the main gathering location for camping, meals, and safety briefings before breaking into groups for the day.
Trailwork throughout the week will be performed around Glady River and the High Falls Trail Section.
Elkins-Randolph County Tourism: What can participants expect throughout the week? What activities will take place?
Marissa & Nicolle: The week kicks off on Friday, June 16th at Stuart Recreation Area. If you’re planning to camp out for the weekend, this is the day you can meet up with other volunteers and those from the ALT team.
Saturday, June 17th will begin with an 8:30am safety briefing and a 9am departure to work locations. Activities will include bridge building, blazing (marking the trail), clearing the trail, and treadwork. The workday will end by 4:30 pm followed by dinner at the pavilion at 6pm. Post-dinner we’ll have an awards presentation at 6:45pm and then our annual meeting will begin at 7pm, where officers are elected.
On Sunday, June 18th, the day will start the same as before with a morning gathering before moving to volunteer work for the day. At the end of the work day plan to arrive at Stuart Recreation Area at 5pm for a social meet and greet and dinner followed by a campfire. Get to know some of our team and mingle with other volunteers and residents from all over that you will have the opportunity to work with throughout the week!
June 19 – 23 will play out the same way, but with dispersed camping closer to the trailheads.
Elkins-Randolph County Tourism: How much are tickets/passes and how are they purchased?
Marissa & Nicolle: Tickets are free, we ask that volunteers who attend dinner, donate 4hr of work. You can register to volunteer at by clicking HERE.
Elkins-Randolph County Tourism: What inspired this event and why is Randolph County the perfect place for it?
Marissa & Nicolle: The W5 tends to attract the most volunteers of any event on the ALT all year. Because Randolph County has 46 miles of trail passing through it, with many camping options and proximity to the Elkins-area, with eco-minded residents, we thought this was the best place for this year’s event.
Elkins-Randolph County Tourism: What is your vision for the future of the Allegheny Trail?
Marissa & Nicolle: We would love to see more community members on the trail and help bring new tourism funds to trail towns and to see the ALT become as recognizable as Seneca Rocks, and the New River Gorge area, as a natural destination to experience. As an organization we partner with local towns, help promote activities in their backyard, and want to invite people of all walks of life to come out and enjoy nature and trail.
Elkins-Randolph County Tourism: How can Randolph County residents and vacationers support the Allegheny Trail?
Marissa & Nicolle: Show your support by becoming a member and volunteer in Trail Work Weekends. You can also donate on our website. If you’re out using the trail, record blow downs and let ALT know where attention is needed. Get out and use the trail with your dogs and families, fish and hike, practice yoga, collect trash, or consider assisting us with mowing access points during the spring, summer, and fall. Adopt a trail head or section of trail you like to help maintain. And finally, spread the word about the trail!
Elkins-Randolph County Tourism: Are there any other upcoming events?
Marissa & Nicolle: On July 15th and 16th take part and enjoy an organized backpacking trip in Section 2 at Glady Route 33 Trail Head. Look for more information to come!