Escape to the Great Outdoors: Hiking TrailsJune 22, 2022
Southern West Virginia is the perfect destination to get outside and breathe some fresh air. From woodland paths that open up to amazing vistas to treks down into the New River Gorge, explore the regional trails for an unmatched experience.
Scenic Views & Endless Experiences
This region’s namesake says it all! Consisting of Fayette, Raleigh, and Nicholas counties, this area boasts some of the most famous trails not only in Southern West Virginia but in the entire state. Rooted in the nation’s newest national park, the New River Gorge Park and Preserve, you won’t be disappointed in the variety of sights along these trails.
- Long Point Trail (moderate) This 3.2-mile trail offers unmatched views of the New River Gorge Bridge from a rock outcrop at the end, as well as the scenic beauty of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
- Endless Wall Trail (moderate) This 2.4-mile trail passes through a rich forest, crosses over Fern Creek, then zig-zags along the cliff edges of the Gorge. Many stunning vistas can be seen along this popular trail.
- Kaymoor Miners Trail (strenuous) This 1-mile (one-way) forest trail descends steeply from the top of the Gorge with switchbacks and stairs to the Kaymoor coal mine site, then 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 continue down to the remains of the coal processing plant, coke ovens and town site near river level.
- Burnwood Trail (easy) This enjoyable 1.2-mile loop trail follows through rich forest and rhododendron thickets. The trail then continues to the edge of an open field, loops back through the forest and returns to the field. This area was a former home site of the Laing family. Clues of this history can be found along the trail.
- White Oak Rail-Trail (easy) This nearly 8-mile trail runs through the city of Oak Hill, connecting the communities of Summerlee and Carlisle at either end. Most of the trail is paved with only 2 miles of trail surfaced with packed gravel – making it ideal for biking, walking and wheelchair accessible. A highlight of the trail is the White Oak Railroad Depot, which first opened in 1903.
More information and trails in Fayette County can be found on theNational Park Service website.
- Lake Stephens (easy, moderate, strenuous) Lake Stephens is home to 20 miles of trails for walking, biking, hiking and horseback riding. The area offers a variety of lengths and degrees of difficulty surrounding the lake. Follow the rolling terrain with several tree identification signs along the way.
- Grandview Rim Trail (moderate) Grandview’s longest hike offers a breathtaking view of the Gorge. This 3.2-mile roundtrip journey will take you to some of the most photographed areas in the state of West Virginia. The surfaces are packed, uneven and can be rocky in some areas.
- Turkey Spur (easy to moderate) Turkey Spur Trail, a 3-mile trail, is known for its “Air Conditioner” – a large vertical fissure in the sandstone that provides hikers with a dose of cool air. Which prepares you to climb 128 wooden steps leading to various overlooks. On a clear day, you can see miles at the base of the stairs.
- YMCA Loop (easy) This popular trail is great for hiking, mountain biking, birding, and for those looking for some solitude. The 4-mile loop offers the best times from April through October.
- Glade Creek Trail (moderate) This 5.6-mile trail follows an abandoned railroad along Glade Creek. The moderate-grade path is popular with hikers of all ages and abilities. A number of cascades and small waterfalls add to the trail’s popularity.
- Kates Falls Trail (strenuous) This difficult, short hike is a 0.2 mile, steep spur trail leading from the Glade Creek Trail to Kates Falls, a beautiful cascade.
- Patterson Trail – (easy) This 2-mile trail forms a loop around Carnifex Ferry State Park and is easily accessible. The trail highlights three beautiful overlooks of the Gauley River.
- Long Point Trail – (easy to moderate) Explore this 3.9-mile out-and-back trail near Summersville Lake. Generally considered an easy route, this trail is popular for birding, hiking and mountain biking. But it can still be enjoyed for some solitude during quieter times of the day. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit any time of the year. Dogs are welcome and may be off-leash in some areas.
- Salmon Run Trail – (moderate) This 1.9-mile loop near Summersville is great for hiking and mountain biking. Plus, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter many other people while exploring! Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.
Historic Coalfields & Offroad Adventures
The offroad adventures offered in this region don’t just consist of the popular ATV trails. Discover why our state is referred to as “almost heaven” as you wander the trails of Wyoming and Mercer counties. Bring your camera; these magical paths offer many Instagram-able moments.
- Hemlock Trail (easy) This 1.2-mile trail gradually descends on a path engulfed with hemlocks, rhododendrons and various other plants. From the Hemlock Trail, follow the stream and jump on Nature Trail or Falls Trail.
- Cliffside Trail (moderate to difficult) Beginning with a gentle slope that becomes rocky and strenuous, this 3.5-mile trail has two prominent vistas. When you make it to the outer loop, don’t forget to stop and enjoy the thicket of rhododendrons.
- Almost Heaven Trail – (moderate) This 5.8-mile loop in Camp Creek State Park is ideal for hiking. The best time to hike this trail is April through October. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.
- Turkey Rock Trail (moderate to difficult) This 1.5-mile trail at Pinnacle Rock State Park forms a loop past a towering rock formation known as Turkey Rock.
Timeless Towns and Farm Country
Timeless towns are just a few of the gems you’ll find along the trail in this region of Southern West Virginia. Known for the longest trail in the state, Greenbrier County is the perfect spot for a leisurely biking or hiking trek.
- Greenbrier River Trail (easy to moderate) Extending for 78 miles through rural West Virginia along the Greenbrier River, this rail trail is the longest trail of its kind in the state. The wheelchair-accessible trail is comprised of packed gravel, accommodating hiking, biking and horseback riding. The Greenbrier County trailhead is located just 1.3 miles north of Caldwell.