Turkey Fork - Oil Boom Loops
Climbing: 1,800 Feet
Climbing per Mile: 39
Overview: This is one of the flattest loop routes of this length I have found in West Virginia. A couple good climbs, interspersed with plenty of flat cruising. This area of the state is the location of one of the first major oil strike in America.
Location: This ride is in Jackson, and Wirt Counties. This is a relatively flat ride (WV Flat) with two climbs and some rolling terrain between Elizabeth and Palestine. This route can be accessed from Exit 146 (Silverton/Ravenswood) of Interstate 77.
Start: I start the ride at the Gilmore School because I'm coming from the Charleston area, but Elizabeth at the other end of the loop would be a good alternate start location.
Getting there; From Charleston, take I-77 North 47 miles to the Silverton Exit. Take a right on Co. 56 and go 3.7 miles to Rt. 21. Take a left and follow Rt. 21 1.3 miles to New Era and the Gilmore School will be on your right.
From Parkersburg, take I-77 South and get off at Silverton exit 146. Left on Co. 56 Go 3.7 miles and take a left on St. 21. Go 1.3 miles and the school will be on the right. .
PDF Map and Turn List
Ride with GPS route by George Cook
Slides show of Loop
General Route Description
New Era to Elizabeth - Starting at Gilmore School on route 21 in Jackson County, you head north as it follows Sandy creek upstream to it source. Route 21 is flat till the final 1 1/4 mile climb up Limestone Ridge. The climb is mostly 7-9 % for the first mile and than eases up for the final 1/4 mile. At the top of the climb, you take a right onto County 1/1, Tucker Creek Rd., just before reaching the Wirt/Wood Counties line . Turning right before entering Wood county, you roll 2 miles along the ridge before a STEEP descent down to Tucker Creek and the junction with County 1. You follow County 1 and Tucker Creek downstream to Elizabeth. Only a short 10% ramp near Elizabeth interrupts a pleasant cruise.
Elizabeth to New Era - Leaving Elizabeth on Route 14, you follow the Little Kanawha River, but find more climbing in the next 3 1/2 miles as the road climbs the bluff above the river. Passing Palestine, the turn onto county route 7 Garfield Road, is on a downgrade so you need to be looking for it. Garfield Road follows the Left Fork of Reedy Creek upgrade to the headwaters at Garfield. At Garfield you have a 3/4 mile climb averaging 5.5% but with some 10% thrown in, to the Wirt - Jackson County line before descending into the Turkey Fork drainage. The rest of the ride is overall downhill along Turkey Fork. Arriving at route 21, you take a left for the final two miles to the start finish.
Items of Interest Along the Route:
The Sarvis Fork Covered Bridge is just 9/10 of a mile North of Gilmore School. It is 2/10s of a mile off of the route on Co. 21/15. It can be seen from the route on the right heading North.
The Wirt County Courthouse is in Elizabeth. The courthouse if half a block off the route on Court and Washington streets.
There was strong southern sympathy in the area during the Civil War. This resulted in a lot of partisan activity, but the big event was the Jones - Imboden Raid on Burning Springs in May 1863.
Food and Water:
There are food and water sources in Elizabeth which is about the halfway point when starting in New Era. There is also a general store in Odaville (see map) that has water and snacks.
There is are also convenience stores at the Silverton exit of Interstate 77.
The listing of routes on this site is not a guarantee of the safety of the route. Cycling has inherent risks and riders skills vary. Traffic conditions vary by time of day, season and local events. Road conditions can vary and change and may change dramatically over one winter season. Riders need to ride within their capabilities and be alert for road hazards and traffic at all times.
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