8 Best Hikes in New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Overview

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is located in the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia. Originally established as a national river, the area was recently delegated as a national park in December 2020. New River Gorge is home to some of the country’s best white water rafting, offering rapids ranging from Class I to Class V. In addition to rafting, the park also provides over 1,400 established rock climbs that attract climbers from around the world. Hiking in “the New” is the best way to explore the river and historic parts of the park; the best hikes in New River Gorge National Park are described below.

StateWest Virginia
Nearest Metro AreaCharleston, WV
Area Size72,186 acres
EstablishedDecember 27, 2020
Hiking Trails59 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

Endless Wall Trail
Endless Wall on the New River Gorge, Photo by Wv funnyman

The Endless Wall Trail is a 2.4 mile moderate walk that passes through rich forest, crosses Fern Creek, then zig-zags along the cliff edge. Many vistas can be seen along the trail making this easily one of the best hikes in New River Gorge National Park. The overlook at Diamond Point provides a good turnaround spot.

  • 2.9 mile loop
  • 300′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Long Point Trail
New River Gorge: Long Point Trail 2020
New River Gorge: Long Point Trail, Photo by Anthony G. Reyes

This trail traverses field and forest on the way to a rock outcrop (Long Point) with panoramic views of the gorge and New River Gorge Bridge. Most of this trail lazily descends through the forest, but it does include one steep section just before you arrive at the point. Impressive views of the New River Gorge, Wolf Creek drainage, and New River Gorge Bridge are available from Long Point.

  • 3.2 miles out and back
  • 250′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Kaymoor Miner’s Trail
Kaymoor Trail at the New River Gorge
Kaymoor Trail at the New River Gorge, Photo by sk

This forest trail descends steeply 0.5 miles from the top of the gorge with stairs and switchbacks to the Kaymoor coal mine site, where it crosses the Kaymoor Trail. A view of the gorge is located 0.2 miles down the trail off to the right, before the stairs. At the mine site, a set of 821 steps continues down to the remains of the coal processing plant, coke ovens, and town site near river level.

  • 1.0 mile out and back
  • 750′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Grandview Rim Trail
New River Gorge National River
New River Gorge Grandview Overlook, Photo by Mobilus in Mobil

This is the longest trail at Grandview, connecting Main Overlook with Turkey Spur. Along the way hikers will enjoy many breathtaking views of the gorge and river far below. A self-guided trail brochure interprets the first half mile of this trail. The trail begins at Main Overlook and ends at the Turkey Spur Overlook. 

  • 3.2 miles out and back
  • 400′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Nuttallburg Loop
Nuttallburg, Photo by Brian Powell

This loop combines several different trails in the area including: Keeneys Creek Rail Trail, Town Loop, Tipple, and Seldom Seen Trail. These trails allow visitors to explore the remains of an old coal mining town. Foundations of a church, school, and homes are visible along the way; exhibits in this area show what life was like in this once bustling community. This trail has two small trailhead parking areas on Keeneys Creek Road. 

  • 2.6 mile loop
  • 250′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Glade Creek Trail
Glade Creek Waterfalls, Photo by Brian M. Powell

This 5.6 mile trail follows an abandoned narrow-gauge railroad along Glade Creek. The trail offers an enjoyable stroll at a very moderate grade, and is popular with hikers of all ages and abilities, as well as being a favorite destination for those in search of swimming holes. A number of cascades and small waterfalls add to the trail’s attraction.

  • 11.2 miles out and back
  • 700′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Rend Trail
Dunloup Falls, Photo by Martin Unrue

An easy grade and wide, smooth trail make the Rend Trail one of the most popular trails in the park. Along the way, there are good views of Dunloup Creek, the New River, and the historic community of Thurmond.

  • 6.4 miles out and back
  • 400′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Sandstone Falls Boardwalk
Sandstone Falls - New River Gorge National Park -   West Virginia
Sandstone Falls – New River Gorge National Park, Photo by Watts

Sandstone Falls is a sight that should not be missed. This is the largest waterfall on the New River spanning 1500′ across. Divided by islands, the falls drop from 10 to 25 feet. A ¼ mile, handicapped accessible boardwalk crosses two bridges leading to islands and observation decks offering fantastic views of the falls and access to fishing areas.

  • 0.25 miles out and back
  • No elevation gain
  • Easy

Featured Image: New River Gorge Bridge, Photo by JaGa

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