The Best Hikes in West Virginia
As the third most forested state in the United States, there are a plethora of hiking trails in West Virginia. We think that the best place to hike in West Virginia is in the state’s only national park, The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
With dozens of hiking trails to discover, it was hard to narrow down our favorites. But, just for you, we did! These West Virginia hiking trails offer something for the littlest explorers to those who have hiked national park trails around the country.
Is West Virginia good for hiking?
A resounding “heck.yes.” Hikes in West Virginia vary from easy to extreme, making it a great place for people of all skill and ability levels to enjoy. West Virginia experiences four season, so no matter when you choose to embark on the hiking trails in West Virginia, you’re sure to see and experience something amazing. From snowy hikes in the winter months, springtime that is full of wildflowers and rhododendrons, lush and green summer, to autumn that lights up in a blaze of orange, red, and yellow, hikes in West Virginia are memorable. And one of the most memorable trails is Endless Wall Trail. Endless Wall Trail begins from one of two trailheads, Nuttall Trailhead or Fern Creek Trailhead. This easy to moderate trail is 2.4 miles total, although many hikers choose to hike from the Fern Creek Trailhead to the vista at Diamond Point, creating an “out and back” style hike that is 2 miles in distance. If you choose to walk the entirety of the trail, a 0.5-mile hike is required along the road. But, enough about that – let’s talk about why this is one of the best hikes in West Virginia. First, you’ll walk through a hemlock forest that is nothing short of magical. These ancient trees have had their share of turmoil during the past decades, and through education and science (yay! Science!) are being treated against an invasive species, the hemlock wooly adelgid. This West Virginia hike then crosses Fern Creek before meandering at a slight uphill grade where you’ll catch your first glimpse of the New River Gorge. Once you arrive at Diamond Point, you’ll see where this trail gets its name. The Endless Wall, a cliff line of sheer sandstone, stretches nearly as far as the eye can see. Known for its world class rock climbing, climbers can often be heard (and seen!) by hikers who are enjoying the view from the top of the cliff. The panoramic view seen from Diamond Point is one to remember, and certainly one you’ll want to snap some photos of!
Long Point Trail: This out-and-back style trail has earned its place as one of the best hikes in West Virginia for it’s view and distance. This trail offers one of the best views of the New River Gorge Bridge that can be found on a WV hiking trail. At just over 3 miles long, this moderately difficult trail is popular for good reason. The trail begins through a field before continuing into a forest, where you’ll remain until you reach a rocky outcrop known as Long Point. This trail only has one steep section, just before you reach the end of the trail. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll enjoy a truly one-of-a-kind view, and you’ll see why it’s one of the best places to hike in West Virginia. Looking downstream, you’ll enjoy a stunning view of the New River Gorge, while upstream you may catch a glimpse of a waterfall, depending on the water flow at the time of your visit. This trail is also accessible to mountain bikers, although bikes are not allowed on the point or the steep section of the trail.
Glade Creek Trail: This trail has a moderate grade and is great for those who are new to hiking or who don’t want to hike steep or rugged terrain. While you can continue on this trail for over 5 miles, many hikers choose to hike to the waterfall (yes, we said waterfall) and then turn around. The clear and cold water of Glade Creek offers incredible sights and sounds as you hike the trail. Shameless plug: Adventures on the Gorge offers a one-of-a-kind hiking and rafting trip, where guests hike the trail, enjoy the waterfall and lunch, then head out on the Upper New River for a beginner friendly rafting experience.
Nuttallburg: Nuttallburg is where history and hiking collide in the West Virgina mountains! Nuttallburg, a formerly booming coal mining town in the New River Gorge, is now a place to learn about the past in West Virginia. Nutallburg has multiple trails, from easy to strenuous, offering something for everyone. This once prosperous coal mining community has been painstakingly restored by the National Park Service and is the best-preserved former coal mining town in the New River Gorge. On these West Virginia hiking trails, you’ll be able to see remains of the foundations of schools and churches and the conveyor and tipple that once moved coal in the gorge.
Is West Virginia known for mountains?
We’re called the Mountain State for a reason! While the Appalachian Mountains aren’t known for their height, they make up for it in volume. Nestled closely together, the Appalachian Mountains embody West Virginia. This mountain range encompasses the entirety of the state of West Virginia, making West Virginia the only state entirely contained within the Appalachian Mountains. And no trail in our area shows off those mountains quite like the Kaymoor Miner’s Trail. Escape to a place where you’ll discover how coal miners once traveled the New River Gorge! This trail is difficult, so make sure to be prepared before you take on what we consider to be one of the best hikes in West Virginia. The trail descends from the moment your hike begins. You’ll be walking downhill for the entirety of the hike, until, of course, you turn around to go back up. The trail itself is relatively short at only 0.5 miles, but then you make it to what locals affectionately (or begrudgingly, depending on who you ask) refer to at “The Stairs”. 821 steps turn back and forth at this point, continuing down to the mine site, where ruins are the coal mining town of Kaymoor remain. Although fenced off, you can still explore this area and imagine what it must have been like to live in Kaymoor when coal mining in the New River Gorge was experiencing it’s heyday. What goes down…must go up, at least when it comes to hiking. This trail is out-and-back, so you’ll retrace your steps (all 821 of them) back up hill. You’ll feel good about your accomplishment for tackling this trail, and hey, you can definitely skip leg day after this.
What is the most beautiful hike?
Well, that’s up to you – the five hiking trails above each feature a gorgeous view! We think the most beautiful hike is the one where you’re enjoying yourself the most. You know those perfect days that you remember forever? We hope that that’s what you’ll experience on hiking trails in West Virginia.
Want to check out some of these hikes? Book a guided hiking tour with us!