Tag: hiking

Hiking The Sunrise Carriage Trail in Charleston, WV

I’m just gonna come right out and say it. I love this trail because it is more about history and scenic views than serious hiking. We’ve already established that I’m not a hiker. Carriage Trail (as the locals call it) is an urban stroll along the old drive to Sunrise; the mansion home of West Virginia’s 9th Governor, William A. MacCorkle.

Don’t expect a typical rocky, rooty, woodland trail. This 1.3 mile out and back is a wide, gravel drive bordered by impressive stonework, beautiful plantings and lush woods. There are several places to rest, and interesting, historical monuments along the way. With just over 200′ of elevation gain/loss it’s a fairly easy hike, and makes an enjoyable, family outing.

In the second year of the Civil War two women convicted as spies by drum head court martial, were brought to this spot, shot, and here buried. In 1905, when building this road to Sunrise, their remains were disinterred and re-buried opposite this stone. W.A.M.

We parked at the lot by the Kanawha River and began our ascent to Sunrise. The sounds of the city mostly died away as we walked further into the woods. Well behaved dogs on a leash are welcome here and we explored with our local guides, my sister-in-law, Wanda, and her adorable dog, Alice.

Some online reviews of Carriage Trail said that it gets very crowded, but we only saw a few people on the trail. Workers in downtown Charleston could hike this on their lunch break. I can imagine this trail is popular with locals because it is short and picturesque with convenient parking just below Bridge Road.

Governor MacCorkle was injured in an auto accident along with his 35 year old daughter, Isabelle, who died from her injuries. He erected this memorial to her. A few years later, MacCorkle died of pneumonia. His ashes were buried at Sunrise and then later moved to a cemetery across the Kanawha River.

At the top of the trail, we found ourselves in a beautiful neighborhood of older homes, with Sunrise mansion on a bluff overlooking the city. Sunrise is privately owned and not open to the public, but you can stroll the grounds and get a sense of the property’s grandeur.

This is the rear entrance of Sunrise, the ‘back porch’ if you will! The front of the mansion overlooks downtown Charleston with sweeping views of the city.

Governor MacCorkle collected some of the stones for Sunrise during his travels and they are engraved with their place of origin. He named Sunrise after his boyhood home in Rockbridge County, VA; so you know we had to find the Virginia stone!

This trail has something for everyone: history, wildlife, natural beauty and even a ghost story if you’re up for that!

We loved our time on Carriage Trail and highly recommend it. It’s fairly convenient to I-77, I-64 and other major routes through Charleston. If you are just traveling through the area, stop nearby for a bite to eat (we recommend The Market or Lola’s on Bridge Road), visit the trail and recharge a little. Or stay, and explore all that Charleston has to offer.

For more on Sunrise Mansion and The Carriage Trail:

This is not a sponsored post. I’m simply linking to businesses that I have visited and enjoyed. They’ve been Arthurized, and I hope you will like them too.

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

I Better See A Daggone Hobbit Up In Here

A hiking review of Cascades and Barney’s Wall near Pembroke, VA
8 miles round trip, 1,600′ elevation gain
TRIGGER WARNING: Terrifying Photos

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I don’t hike. I’m not one of those people who gets blissed out in the woods. The beach, yes. Ticks, bears, snakes, serial killers and poison ivy? No. However, I enjoy being married to one of those blissed out hikers, so I hike. Occasionally. And under great duress.

We paid $3 for this super awesome warning, but I guess they won’t tow away your car if you have it, so, okay cool. Also, nobody listens to me. Hiking. Is. Dangerous.
They even tell you that up front. Can’t say you weren’t warned.

So the hike to the falls is gorgeous.

We got there early and had the trail to ourselves. This section felt like hiking into The Shire.

There were fallen trees everywhere and even over the trail in several places. We climbed over some and crawled under two of them. Yes, crawled on our knees. Not kidding.

The falls are truly magical. Especially early in the morning before the waters fill with amorous Virginia Tech students.

I maintained a good attitude for the first 2.5 miles of our hike. Right up until we met a couple on their return trip from Barney’s Wall. They had just encountered a bear at a campsite near the top. I went into High Alert! Stressed out of my mind for the next 5.5 miles, I scanned the woods in every direction. Every boulder was a bear. Every distant stump was a bear. I’ll never understand how this is supposed to be relaxing.
Panic mode: Expert Level

View from Barney’s Wall. We met a lady on the way down from Cascades who said she’s never made it up to Barney’s Wall. My advice to her: Don’t. Just Google pictures of it. It looks the same. That lady said her group had just seen an enormous snake. The biggest one she’d ever seen. Good times.

Bear Campsite. And I really had to pee. No worries, we’re only 4 MILES from a bathroom.

Remember that I said we climbed over fallen tree trunks? I started over this one, reaching out to steady myself on a small tree nearby. Guess what I wrapped my hand around?


And his friend Super Creepy. And yes, I screamed like a girl. Hiking is like being trapped in a horror flick set in nature, not in some axe murderer’s wood shed. They don’t tell you that dying of a heart attack while hiking is a very real possibility. Just from sheer terror.

Oh, thank you, Jesus! Only two more miles of this mess. I just have to make it back to the car. I can do this, right? The sound of rushing water from the creek was not helping the really-gotta-pee situation.

We took the Upper Trail back to the parking lot and freedom. It was a nice assortment of rocks, pointy rocks, sharp pointy rocks, rocks covered in wet slippery leaves and mud puddles. And trees overhead just waiting to fall and crush us.
And my husband l.o.v.e.d. it.

If you’d still like to visit after all that, go here to check it out: https://www.virginia.org/listings/OutdoorsAndSports/CascadesNationalRecreationTrail/


Cascades Pro Tips: Highly recommended for a quick hike with great views. Get there early for parking and solitude. Because the Cascades hike is so popular, the trails fill up in beautiful weather. We took the Lower Trail for the climb to the falls. The scenery is beautiful, but be prepared to climb up and down stone steps toward the end. A little challenging for this shorty. If you want an easier stroll, the Upper Trail is wider and more accessible. The Upper Trail views are slightly less spectacular but still pretty.

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.