3 Full-Day Hikes Worth the Trek in New River Gorge Nat'l Park
Few places in the Lower 48 have as rich a natural landscape to enjoy as Fayetteville, WV. Combining mountains, rivers, forests, and streams, this outdoor-enthusiast's wonderland has become a favorite place for adventurers of all kinds.
With the US' newest National Park just on the edge of town, there are plenty of full-day hikes you can take within its boundaries. Here are three of the top hikes you've got to check out in the New River Gorge National Park:
At 8.6 miles, this moderate hike is one of the tougher ones in the Fayetteville area. This trail runs parallel with the gorge itself. Along the way, you'll pass by the historic Kaymoor coal mine, where you can learn a little bit more about the area's history.
Like much of West Virginia, Kaymoor was once a coal mining town. Now, it's an abandoned place that the forest has begun to reclaim. Trees grow through empty windows and mosses grow on abandoned walls. It's part eerie and part humbling, thinking of how many of our efforts will fade away with time.
Take your time at Kaymoor before continuing down the trail. From there, the hike follows the gorge with several viewpoints to get the full experience. This trail connects with a handful of others, including the Kaymoor Miner's trail and the Craig Branch trail. If you're looking to make this tough hike even tougher, consider adding on a second trail for the day.
The trail that (seemingly) connects all others, the Fayetteville trail runs from Fayette Station Road to Kaymoor Top through thick stands of forest. It connects with over seven full-length trails branching off in multiple directions. If you're looking for a trail that can keep you busy for days on end, this is the one for you.
Like other trails in the park, the Fayetteville trail gently rises and falls with the rolling hills around the gorge. If you're a mycophagist - that is, someone who hunts edible wild mushrooms - this would be a great place to find them. The trail here offers perfect conditions for Pheasantbacks and Chicken of the Woods to grow.
The Fayetteville trail is one of the more strenuous trails on this list. If you hike all four miles of it, remember to bring plenty of water - especially in summer. The West Virginia heat can make hikes like this dangerous if hikers don't take the proper precautions. Just be safe, and make the most of your time outdoors. You'll enjoy the memories.
Offering a beautiful vista overlooking the Endless Wall and the New River Gorge bridge, the Long Point trail is a favorite hike to do in the park. Most of the trail is relatively flat. You'll be able to enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace, taking time to soak it all in.
It's an easy walk until you reach the single steep section right before the vista. Make it to the top, and you'll be rewarded with a stunning view of the entire gorge. The lookout here offers a perpendicular view of the famous bridge across the gorge.
No matter what the time of year, Fayetteville, WV, is a beautiful place to be. You can enjoy these long trails in the park in every season. Come for the blooming wildlife in spring, the changing leaves in fall, and the stark crispness of winter, and enjoy this outdoor adventure space year-round.
What hike on this list are you most excited to do? Let us know in the comments!
Remember to pack your camera, and happy hiking!