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Sunrise Carriage Trail

Intermediate
 4.2 (5)

A beautiful, historic trail winding through the woods right next to downtown Charleston.


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Map Key

0.7

Miles

1.1

KM

Point to Point

827' 252 m

High

621' 189 m

Low

206' 63 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

The Sunrise Carriage Trail is an absolute gem within shouting distance of downtown Charleston. It is a great training trail with beautiful architecture, masonry, craftsmanship, and history in a surprisingly forested setting so close to downtown. There are two parking areas. Located at the bottom of the trail near the South Side Bridge is the Justice Row parking lot. There is also public parking available on Crawford Road at the top of the trail in view of the former Governor's Mansion. The trail is located 5-10 minutes from the I-77/I-64 junction in Charleston. The trail switchbacks its way up the hillside with gentle grades and beautiful craftsmanship throughout.

The trail was originally built by Governor William A. MacCorkle in 1905 to transport building materials drawn by oxen to the top of the hill to construct the Governor's Mansion, also known as the Sunrise Mansion. Instead of pulling the materials up the nearby steep Bridge Road, MacCorkle purchased the wooded land to create a gentler grade that would be easier for the oxen pulling the materials. Apparently, while digging the trailbed, MacCorkle himself uncovered a Civil War gravesite of two women who were thought to be spies and executed, though there are conflicting stories as to which side executed and buried the women.

The more than century old stone walls are often patched up with imprints of local leaves set into them. There is also a small shrine on one of the switchbacks that the Governor erected after his daughter was killed in an automobile accident. The trail ends at the top of the hill at the Sunrise Mansion, where MacCorkle began his horse-drawn carriage rides down the trail each morning on his way to the capitol building.

Please take care of this beautiful trail and donated property and strive to leave it in better condition than you found it. It's a deservedly popular trail for hikers, so be friendly and say "hi" to the many folks enjoying the trail.

For more detailed information about the history of the Sunrise Carriage Trail, cclick here.

Contacts

Shared By:

Steve Creech

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 5 votes

#1

in Charleston

#7991

Overall
  4.2 from 5 votes
5 Star
40%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in Charleston

#69

in West Virginia

#7,991

Overall
274 Views Last Month
2,261 Since Nov 15, 2017
Intermediate

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Photos

Top of the carriage trail in late fall
Nov 27, 2019 near Charleston, WV
Concrete imprints of local leaves upon the century old craftsmanship lining the trail
Dec 21, 2017 near Charleston, WV
One of several gently graded switchbacking curves just outside the heart of Charleston
Dec 19, 2017 near Charleston, WV

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Check-Ins

Aug 13, 2020
Trinette Raven Brady
May 29, 2019
S Stowers
I walk/run this trail almost daily. Good canopy during light rain.