Our Collaboration with
The Sweetwater Farm Trail Center is a unique collaboration between Experience Learning and Trail Labs. Experience Learning is a non-profit organization committed to delivering high-quality outdoor programming as a tool to develop competence, confidence, and community for all people of all ages as a mechanism for positive change. Trail Labs is a group focused on creating and enabling quality outdoor recreation. Together they bring you the Sweetwater Farm Trail Center (SWFTC), a new fee-for use trail system in Pendleton County. These new trails that have been professionally designed and built by Appalachian Dirt will provide new opportunities for quality mountain biking, hiking, and trail running.
We rely on your support! Purchase a pass, even better become a sustaining member of Trail Labs, best yet – come out and enjoy the place. All proceeds from pass sales, memberships, bike rental, camping, and retail sales all go towards the creation, expansion, and maintenance of this trail system.
Sweetwater Farm Trail Center, located on the eastern edge of West Virginia’s Pendleton County, has a rich agricultural history dating back to the pre-civil war era. After many generations as a family farm, the 560-acre property was eventually turned into an agriculture-based non-profit organization. Many different subsistence, entrepreneurial, and educational models have been conducted on the property over its 175-year history.
When Experience Learning took ownership of the property in 2017, we also experimented with various agricultural initiatives, including maple and birch syrup production, livestock, mushrooms, medicinal herbs, and small-scale organic vegetable farming. Each initiative was informative and enlightening, but never produced adequate revenue to sustain the property or staff.
In 2022, we entered into a cooperative agreement with our partners at Trail Labs to develop the previously used agriculture land into a trail center in hopes of transforming the property from an underutilized farm into a facility that could support local outdoor recreation use and programming, contribute to small business development in the area, and encourage more tourism. Over the course of the ten-year agreement, Experience Learning plans to install up to 30 miles of natural surface trails that will create access to and feature the natural beauty of the property, which includes open meadows, mature hardwood forests, rock outcroppings, an area of volcanic activity, seven freshwater springs, headwater streams (including Brook Trout habitat), and three distinct knobs. These features provide a rich and unique landscape for a trail system.
We are conveniently located between two incredible swathes of public land, the Monongahela and the George Washington National Forests. While we don’t have direct trail access to the national forest from the trail center, we do have ample backcountry roads to ride to get there. And if you don’t feel like a big day or like riding the road, ask us about our shuttle service.
We cannot thank you enough for the interest in this project and for giving our trail center a chance. It is a new model that no doubt will come with its own growing pains as we earn and learn lessons along the way. We are excited to continue development across the board, from our website to the facility, and the trail system itself, please bear with us, we promise we are building something really cool.