5 Must-Take Hikes at New River Gorge National Park

More than just a rock climbing haven

Looking for an outdoor adventure that will take your breath away? Look no further than New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia! This stunning park is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the country and makes the perfect getaway.

Established in 1978, the park was designed to protect the ecosystem surrounding the New River, one of the world's oldest rivers. Iironic, right? The park spans more than 70,000 acres and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, black bears, bobcats, and more.

New River Gorge National Park is also where white water rafting enthusiasts flock for some of the most challenging rapids in the country. With powerful currents and waves, the New River is not for the faint of heart! 

Not to be outdone by the water, rock climbing also takes center stage with more than 1400 established rock climbing opportunities throughout the park. However, it’s important to know that most of these climbs are for experienced climbers.

For those looking for a more relaxed experience, don't worry – there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in the park, including some beautiful hiking trails. Here are five must-take hikes at New River Gorge National Park that will leave you speechless:

Castle Rock Trail

Lined with gorgeous green trees lining both sides of the gorge and a river winding through the middle, the Castle Rock Trail is an easy hike with minimal elevation but incredible views.

The stone that makes up the gorge walls will tower above you. While these walls are stunning to look at, there are some sections with drop-offs, so if you have young children, be sure to keep a close eye on them.

Total Distance: 1.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 173 feet

Difficulty: Easy - Hiking

Route Type: Loop

Other Info:

  • Dogs must be leashed on this trail
  • Mud can form in some spots during wet seasons, so bring proper footwear
  • Rocks can be slippery on this trail so watch your footing
  • Trekking poles are recommended on this trail

Sandstone Falls Boardwalk

Relaxing and enjoying the flow of the New River is easy to do on this short boardwalk trail. 

Sandstone Falls is one of the smaller waterfalls in the area but what the falls lack in size, they make up for in beauty.

The best time to visit is after heavy rain when the waterfall's flow is at its strongest. Walking over the bridge to see the falls is an experience you won't soon forget.

Total Distance: 0.49 miles

Elevation Gain: 9.8 feet

Difficulty: Easy - Walking, Running

Route Type: Loop

Other Info:

  • Dogs must be leashed on this trail
  • This boardwalk is made from wood, so no need for hiking shoes
  • This trail is wheelchair and stroller accessible
  • This trail can get crowded quickly, so it's recommended to avoid the afternoon

Long Point Trail

You can climb up and see most of the valley from different angles on Long Point Trail through the rolling hills of the gorge. The trail is a bit more challenging with some rocky and steep sections.

This very wide trail provides safe access for bikes to get around hikers, but the last 0.12 miles are only accessible on foot. If you're looking for a pleasant spot for quiet relaxing, be sure to go all the way to the end!

Total Distance: 2.98 miles

Elevation Gain: 321 feet

Difficulty: Moderate - Hiking

Route Type: Loop

Other Info:

  • No dogs allowed on this trail
  • Mountain biking is allowed on this trail
  • Tree roots routinely stick up on this trail, so watch your step
  • This trail can become muddy after it rains, so watch the weather and wear appropriate footwear

Endless Wall Trail

Get to know the land that encompasses New River Gorge National Park on Endless Wall Trail.

With a diverse landscape throughout the trail, Endless Wall is one of the most popular hikes in the park.  With a lush green forest, a bridge over a large creek, and a river running through the middle, this trail really does have it all. 

Be sure to look up as the Endless Wall is very popular with rock climbers. So experience all the sights and see some experienced climbers in action!

Total Distance: 2.29 miles

Elevation Gain: 288 feet

Difficulty: Easy -  Hiking

Route Type: Loop

Other Info:

  • Dogs must be leashed on this trail
  • Watch out for rock climbers near the Endless Wall
  • This trail has high drop-off cliffs, so please be aware of how close you get to them
  • This trail includes many unmarked trails, so be sure you keep on the main trail if you don't have additional navigational tools with you.

Kaymoor Miners Trail

History, stairs, and more stairs! 

Kaymoor Miners Trail is a great option for those who want to learn more about the area's coal mining history while taking a challenging hike that is sure to work out those legs

The trail includes an old mine entrance, an abandoned company town, and several scenic overlooks. Because of the trail’s popularity, it can get crowded on weekends, but it's definitely worth checking out. With over 800 stairs separating you and the top, this isn't for inexperienced hikers.

Total Distance: 1.61 miles

Elevation Gain: 869 feet

Difficulty: Hard -  Hiking

Route Type: Out & Back

Other Info:

  • No dogs allowed on this trail
  • This trail is mostly uphill on stairs and shouldn't be attempted if you have bad knees or are not experienced in uphill hiking
  • There is private property on this trail, so please do not approach the signed area
  • Lots of loose rocks and dirt on this trail, so proper hiking footwear is recommended

No matter how many trails you choose to try while at New River Gorge National Park, you're sure to make unforgettable memories and see some amazing sights. 

Be sure to take proper precautions, like checking the weather before you go and letting someone know where you're going. 

Happy hiking!