Blending Recreation, History and Culture 

Snowy Coke Ovens

The Blackwater Industrial Complex Archaeological and Historic District contains a ten-mile stretch of the 1888 West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railway grade with bridges and culverts, the abandoned community of Limerock along with the historic mining towns of Thomas, Coketon and Douglas, including numerous historic buildings, mine portals, stone foundations of the Coketon power house, serval mine buildings and two mine tipples, many other unidentified structure foundations, and the standing remains of approximately 300 (out of the original 1,235) bee hive style coke ovens. 

Beginning immediately west of Hambleton, continuing to Thomas, the grade “the steepest in the east … climbs 1,236 feet in 10 miles.” The first train ran along the tracks in April of 1889 to the town of Parsons. 

Today, residents and visitors enjoy the railroad grade for hiking, running, and biking, while taking a step back in time to the area’s industrial past. The railroad grade offers stunning views of the Blackwater Canyon with numerous waterfalls before connecting with the 26-mile Allegheny Highlands Trail just north of Hendricks.