A year after flooding devastated the area, one of the South's most beloved trails has reopened.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
Greenbrier River Trail
Credit: West Virginia Tourism Office

"Country roads, take me home / To the place I belong / West Virginia, mountain momma / Take me home, country roads," sings John Denver in his 1971 classic hit.

And now seems like a particularly fitting time to hum the state's adopted anthem. After severe flooding in June 2016, the entire 78 miles of the Greenbrier River Trail has reopened.

In one 11-mile stretch, the state-owned trail had "the Godzilla of landslides" as Sam England, chief of the Parks and Recreation Section of the Division of Natural Resources, dubbed it. The landslide from the June 2016 floods submerged the trail under a 600-foot-high mess of rock, trees, mud, and other debris for a length of 300-feet. This portion of the trail required extensive repairs and has remained closed since the flooding.

While parts of the trail had been previously reopened, the clearing of debris in this segment marks the return of full access on this historic trail.

With origins dating back to 1899, Greenbrier River Trail was once a bustling railroad line of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. Now, hikers, bikers, and even horseback riders can trot the scenic railbed, which became a state park in 1980. Glassy water, verdant greenery, and rolling mountains make the trail a popular training spot for runners and cyclists. But it's also a darn beautiful place to relax with your family or spend quality time with a four-legged friend. "Almost heaven, West Virginia" sounds about right.

There are several parks and forests along the trail that provide overnight lodging for guests: Greenbrier State Forest, Watoga State Park, Seneca State Forest, and Cass Scenic Railroad.

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Excited to strap on your hiking boots or rally up the family for a road trip? For more information, you can visit gotowv.com/company/greenbrier-river-trail.