WEIRTON - Across the nation, old railways have been replaced by recreational trails, providing new opportunities for fitness and even travel.
Each year the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy makes use of these trail systems, attracting people from across the country to ride the old rail lines and explore the country.
This year's ride - featuring both walkers and bicyclists - will kick off in Weirton, traveling through three states over a period of several days.
According to Dan Greathouse, executive director of the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau, approximately 300 cyclists will depart Weirton at 11 a.m. Sunday using the region's recreational trails to travel to Cumberland, Md.
"They'll take six days to ride from Weirton to Cumberland," Greathouse explained.
This will be the 12th year for the event, dubbed the "Greenway Sojourn," and will be the first time for the trip to make its way through three states, according to an informational packet.
There will be 32 states represented during the Sojourn, according to the packet.
Participants are scheduled to meet Sunday morning in Cumberland, where they will board buses and come to Weirton.
Leaving Weirton from the Harmon Creek access point of the Panhandle Trail at approximately 11 a.m. Sunday, they will ride 27 miles to Cecil Township, Pa. where they will camp for the night. The second day will include a 51-mile ride to Cedar Creek Park, Pa. on the Montour Trail, with the third day including a 48-mile trek to Confluence, Pa.
The trip's fourth day will be considered a "layover" day, with participants able to select from several activities, including whitewater rafting or scenic rafting on portions of the Youghiogheny River, touring Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater or Kentuck Knob, or self-guided biking or hiking tours around Ohiopyle State Park.
Day 5 will feature a 31.6 mile journey between Confluence and Meyersdale, Pa., with the sixth day concluding the trip with the final 32 miles to Cumberland.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Greenway Sojourn is supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)