7 Favorite Hikes in New River Gorge National Park

You may not have heard of New River Gorge, but this stunning river canyon in the middle of the West Virginia just became America’s newest National Park! Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in New River Gorge, and a must-do on any visit to this wild corner of West Virginia.

I first visited New River Gorge a few months after it achieved National Park Status on 4th of July Weekend, 2021. I didn’t have any clue what to expect at this new National Park, but I ended up totally enchanted by New River Gorge.

New River Gorge, West Virginia has miles of family-friendly hikes with amazing views, like the Endless Wall Trail or Canyon Rim Boardwalk, and some more strenuous hikes into the Canyon itself, like Kaymoor Miners Trail. Best of all, all of these trails are completely dog friendly!

This guide breaks down my favorite hikes in New River Gorge, and more tips to plan the perfect trip to America’s newest national park.  

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links where I earn a small commission from any purchase – at no extra cost to you. This commission helps keep Brooke In Boots up and running. As always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own!

A Quick Look at The Best Hikes in New River Gorge

Hikes in New River Gorge are short but sweet. In fact, every hike on this list is under 3 miles! From easy boardwalks to steep trails through the canyon, New River Gorge has a little bit of something for everyone.

Check out this quick look at some of my favorite hikes in this West Virginia National Park.

TrailDistanceDifficultyEst. TimeArea
Canyon Rim Boardwalk0.1 MilesEasy15 MinutesFayetteville
Long Point Trail3.2 MilesEasy to Moderate1-2 HoursFayetteville
Endless Wall Trail2 MilesEasy1-2 HoursFayetteville
Castle Rock Trail1.1 MilesModerate1 HourGrandview
Sandstone Falls & Boardwalk1 MileEasy30 MinutesSandstone
Tunnel Trail0.5 MilesEasy30 MinutesGrandview
Kaymoor Miners Trail1.5 MilesHard2 HoursFayetteville

This guide dives into each of these hikes in tons of detail below, plus helpful info about parking, where to dine and stay in New River Gorge, and more things to do on your visit to New River Gorge National Park.

Always remember to practice Leave No Trace, stay on designated trails, and respect historic and native sites. New River Gorge is the ancestral home of the Moneton, Yuchi, Shawnee, Yesan.

Important Things to Know About Visiting New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

John Denver once called West Virginia “almost heaven,” and after spending a day in New River Gorge National Park, you’ll understand why.

New River Gorge from the Canyon Boardwalk

For adrenaline junkies, New River Gorge is home to some of the best rock climbing and whitewater rafting on the East Coast. For hikers, mountain bikers, and dog parents, there are miles of hiking and biking trails, making this one of the best National Parks on the East Coast.

While smaller and newer than

Entrance Fees in New River Gorge

Good news! There are no entrance fees or parking fees in New River Gorge National Park.

Is New River Gorge National Park Dog Friendly?

Yes! New River Gorge is one of the most dog-friendly National Parks. Leashed pets are permitted on all New River Gorge trails. Make sure to always keep your pet leashed and pick up your pet’s waste!

Learn more about visiting New River Gorge with your pup and how to be a BARK ranger – here!

Parking at New River Gorge Hikes

There are no shuttles or public transportation around New River Gorge, and most of the best hikes are spread out across the Park. That means you’ll be doing a fair bit of driving in and around the Park to get to some of these trails.

New River Gorge doesn’t have a wilderness area, far away from civilization, like other Parks. Many of these trailheads are in and around residential areas. Please be courteous of the neighbors who live next to the trail.

Only park in designated parking spots, keep noise to a minimum and practice Leave No Trace principles.

New River Gorge Bridge from the Canyon Overlook

Map of the Best Hikes New River Gorge

Most New River Gorge National Park and Preserve trails are clustered around two areas of the Park: the Canyon Rim Visitor Center (near Lansing and Fayetteville) and the Grandview Visitor Center (near Grandview and Sandstone).

These two areas are about 42 miles, or about 1 hour’s drive apart from each other.

How to Use This Map: Click the Icons on the map to see more information about each location. Click the star at the top of the map to add the map to your Google Maps account.

Canyon Rim Boardwalk

Distance: 0.1 mi

Difficulty: Easy / Fully Accessible to the First Viewing Point

Time: 15 Minutes

Views from the Canyon Rim Boardwalk

This short boardwalk from the Canyon Rim Visitor Center is an easy and wheelchair accessible walk with sweeping views of one of the best New River Gorge view points.

While it’s not really a “hike” per se, its only 0.1 miles 😂, its a stunning viewpoint and a good place to start your New River Gorge adventure.

To access the trail, park at the New River Gorge Canyon Rim Visitor Center.

An easy wooden boardwalk descends from the Visitor Center parking lot to the Gorge’s edge. Two viewing platforms give spectacular views of the New River Gorge Bridge. The ramp is fully accessible up to the first viewing platform.

After the viewing platform, descend 178 wooden stairs down to the lower point for even better views of the bridge and gorge. Just remember that going down is optional – but coming back up is not! There are several benches along the staircase to catch your breath, especially during the hot and humid West Virginian summer.

Afterwards, stop by the Canyon Rim visitor center has a small gift shop to stock up on your stickers, mugs, magnets and of course National Park Passport Stamps.

Canyon Rim Visitor Center in New River Gorge National Park

Long Point Trail

Distance: 3.2 Miles

Difficulty: Easy / 250′ Gain

Time: 1-2 Hours

The Long Point trail is a 3.2 mile round trip walk through rhododendron forests to a rocky outlook with magnificent views of the iconic New River Gorge Bridge. This was one of my favorite New River Gorge hikes on our visit, along with the Endless Wall trail.

New River Bridge from Long Point

To access the Long Point trail New River Gorge trailhead from Fayetteville, follow Gatewood Road and Turn Left on Newton Road. A designated parking area is available on the left.

From the Parking lot, the trail descends gently on a gravel trail through sunny forest. The trail passes a few clearings early on with designated bird watching platforms.

Bikes are permitted on the trail until the last 0.2 miles.

After about a mile, the trail enters the rhododendron forest that is native to the area. Rhododendrons bloom in shades of white to bright purple, usually in mid-June to early July. The Great Rhododendron is the state flower of West Virginia and can be found all along the trail.

Long Point is a great spot for sunset or just enjoying views of the Park’s most famous icon

The trail continues winding gently down the dirt and gravel path for 1.4 miles. Bikes aren’t permitted past this point, and theres a small bike rack to park here.

The last 0.2 miles through thick rhododendron tunnels are a moderately steep descent out to Long Point. Keep an eye out for slick sandstone rock and tree roots that are a trip hazard.

After emerging from the thicket, the last 0.1 miles of the trail skirt the canyon’s edge and finally open up on a flat rocky outcropping known as Long Point.

Long Point provides a spectacular view of the New River Gorge bridge and surrounding canyon.  I strongly suggest visiting Long Point for sunset – just don’t forget to bring a headlamp for your return hike.

Endless Wall Trail to Diamond Point

Distance: 2 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 1-2 Hours

This easy trail to Diamond Point has some of the best views of the New River Gorge and was my favorite New River Gorge hike on our visit!

The Endless Wall in New River Gorge

The trailhead parking lot for the Endless Wall Trail is located north of the Canyon Rim visitor center off Route 19. Take care when driving on narrow roads through this area.

There is limited parking at this trailhead and spots may not be available during crowded peak hours, 10 am to 3pm, or on weekends and holidays. Do NOT park on Lansing-Edmond Road if spots are not available. This is a residential area and you may be towed if not parked in the designated lot.

From the parking lot, follow the signs for the Endless Wall trail. The trail is relatively flat and shady as it winds through enchanting Eastern Hemlock and deciduous forests. After about a ½ mile, the trail crosses Fern Creek over a short wooden bridge.

The trail wanders for another 0.2 miles before you see a turnoff sign for Climbing Access. Climbers can access the rock walls via a series of ladders from this trail.

Follow the sign to continue on the Endless Wall trail towards the Overlook. After a less than 0.5 miles you will start to see unmarked small side trails forking to the right off the main trail.

Follow these side trails through the thicket of rhododendron to walk along the cliffs edge towards the unmarked Beak Rock overlook. You can follow the unmarked trails along the cliffs edge towards the large, unmarked outcrop of rock known as Diamond Point. Or, follow the main trail for a more direct route.

Rhododendron in bloom in New River Gorge

Like other trails on this list, the area around Diamond point follows steep canyon drop offs into the canyon, many hundreds of feet deep. There are no signs or guardrails along the cliff rim. Keep a close eye on children and pets when visiting this area.

Take your time and enjoy the expansive views of the New River Gorge from Diamond Point. The views here easily make this one of the best New River Gorge hikes.

The Endless Wall derives its name from the Nuttall Sandstone cliffs that stretch around the bend in either direction.Keep an eye out for rock climbers scaling the sandstone on the many established routes that line the cliffs.

Looking down at the river below, keep an eye on the river for orange and yellow objects – those are whitewater rafters making their way down the New River!

When you’ve had your fill of the view, return to the parking lot via the same trail.

Sandstone Falls & Island Loop Trail

Distance: 1 Mile

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 Minutes

Sandstone Falls / NPS

This easy trail leads to Sandstone Falls, a cascading series of falls and rapids on the New River. Sandstone Falls is a popular trail in the southernmost area of the Park, but it is quite a drive from most of the other trails on this list. To get to the Falls trailhead, you’ll need to drive about 50 minutes from the Grandview Visitor Center or 1.5 Hours from the New River Bridge / Canyon Rim Visitor Center.

We didn’t have time to check this hike out when we visited, but if you’re spending multiple days in New River Gorge, you can take the time to drive and check this one out.

From the trailhead, follow the Island Loop Trail in either direction to the river for views of the Sandstone Falls.

Castle Rock Trail

Distance: 1.1 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 1 Hour

Sandstone Cliffs on Castle Rock Trail / NPS

Take in the views of the New River as curves in a massive “U” bend and get up close to the sandstone canyon walls on this 1 mile loop trail.

From the Grandview Visitor Center, follow the trail to the Main Overlook. Here there are wide views of the winding river and surrounding hills.

Retrace your steps and follow signs for the Castle Rock Trail. The trail descends for about half a mile as you walk along the bottom of huge sandstone cliffs. The elevation gain isn’t difficult, but the trail is rocky and criss-crossed with tree roots just waiting to roll your ankles, so watch your step!

Along the way you’ll have a couple of beautiful viewpoints of the gorge and river below.

The trail joins up with the Grandview Rim Trail. Turn left and follow the Rim Trail back to the trailhead.

View from Grandview / NPS

Tunnel Trail

Distance: 0.5 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 Minutes

This short and easy hike also leaves from the Grandview Visitor Center, adjacent to the Castle Rock loop. Like Castle Rock, this short trail gets up close and personal with the Nuttall sandstone that defines the dramatic New River Gorge.

To get here, follow the Main Overlook trail from the Grandview Visitor Center. Don’t forget to take a look at the magnificent horseshoe bend in the River from the Overlook first, then turn onto the Tunnel Trail.

This easy trail passes under the overhanging sandstone cliffs and through several tunnels and bridges through the rock, making this one of the most unique best hikes at New River Gorge.

This hike is entirely shaded by the forest and cool sandstone, making it a great hike on a hot summer day.

Kaymoor Miners Trail

Distance: 1.6 Miles Round Trip

Difficulty: Hard / 950’ Gain

Time: 2 Hours

Kaymoor Mines / NPS / Best Hikes in NPS

Learn a little bit about the human history of New River Gorge – and get in a heck of a workout – on the Kaymoor Miners Trail, one of the best strenuous New River Gorge National Park and Preserve trails.

The Kaymoor Miners trail starts at the rim of the canyon and descends into the gorge to a historic coal mine, the Kaymoor One Mining Complex.

Coal and timber industries were the lifeblood of the New River Gorge for many years. The Kaymoor One complex was once one of the highest producing coal mines in the region, and one of the most intact mines left in the Park. The Kaymoor mine operated from 1900 until 1962.

To access the trail, park at the small lot, labeled “Kaymoor Parking Lot” on Google Maps. The parking lot and road to Kaymoor Parking Lot is narrow and winding. Large vehicles and RVs are not recommended.

The infamous Kaymoor Stairs / NPS / Best Hikes in New River Gorge

From here, take the steep and rocky dirt trail to the top of the mining complex, about halfway down. Be careful on this first section, it can be extra slippery after rain and during fall when the leaves cover the steep trail.

Halfway down, there are a couple of NPS interpretive signs about the history of the mining complex and coal industry in New River Gorge.

From here, it’s a looonnng series of 820 wooden stairs down to the river, where you can see the ruins of the mine.Once you’ve looked around, get ready because it’s all uphill from here. Take your time on the stairs and be careful heading back up!

Dogs and kids are permitted on this trail, but I wouldn’t recommend either due to the steep terrain.

The Best Times to Visit New River Gorge

New River Gorge is open year round, but the most popular times to visit are late-spring through fall.

Summers are hot and humid in New River Gorge. Make sure to drink plenty of water, electrolytes, and take breaks if you plan to hike during the hottest parts of the day! If you want to experience some of New River Gorge’s epic whitewater rafting, visit during summer.

If you’re visiting during fall, don’t miss “Bridge Day” – a totally unique and extreme event that only happens in New River Gorge! Bridge Day takes place the third Saturday in October, when the New River Gorge bridge closes to vehicle traffic and the entire street becomes a massive block party. The highlight are the daring BASE jumpers who take flight off the bridge and fly into the canyon below!

If you visit in winter or early spring, be sure to be prepared for snowy and icy conditions on the trails and roads.

Where to Stay In New River Gorge National Park

Most visitors to New River Gorge stay near the towns of Fayetteville and nearby Beckley. These towns are within 15 minutes of the Park and provides easy access to the main trails and attractions of the Park, including the New River Bridge.

Hotels Near New River Gorge

Most hotels in the area are budget-friendly and motel-style accommodations, like the Quality Inn New River, and Comfort Inn New River.

We stayed at the  Holiday Lodge Hotel in Oak Hill, approximately 5 miles outside the park. While the accommodations were nothing to write home about, the room was clean and the hot breakfast in the morning was plenty to fuel us for the day’s adventures

New River Gorge Camping

There are no established campgrounds inside New River Gorge.

Primitive campsites are available inside the park on a first-come first-serve basis. Campsites have no drinking water or hookups, and have limited restroom facilities. Learn more about primitive campsites within the park on the NPS website, here.

There are multiple private campgrounds operate in or near Fayetteville, available for both tent and RV camping.  

Relaxing at the Handle Bar after a day hiking the best trails New River Gorge.

Dining Near New River Gorge

For a small town, Fayetteville has a decent list of restaurants to suit any hungry hiker’s appetite. Local favorites include the Southside Junction Tap House, the Pink Pig BBQ, Pies & Pints Pizzeria and more.

If you’re looking for a casual spot with an incredible craft beer selection and biergarten inspired menu, check out The Handle Bar, located at the Arrowhead Bike Farm and Campground. We stumbled on this spot while leaving the Long Point trailhead and had a perfect night enjoying a few local brews and curry bratwurst.

Despite its recently upgraded status to National Park, New River Gorge remains a relatively unknown gem outside of West Virginia. The best hikes in New River Gorge make for a perfect day trip or weekend adventure for those exploring central Appalachia. Between the easily accessible hiking trails and opportunities galore for adrenaline-junkies, New River Gorge is, simply, “almost heaven.”

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