Views that are worth the hike

The mountains and gorges of southern West Virginia provide endless opportunities for scenic views. While many overlooks are located along roadsides, some of the best views require a bit of trek to reach.

For adventurers who are looking to experience fantastical hikes through that culminate in a breathtaking views, southern West Virginia has many trails that satisfy that itch.

Long Point Trail at Summersville Lake (Easy) 3.9 miles, out & back, 442ft elevation gain

View at Long Point at Summersville Lake

This wooded trail leads to a cliffside lookout over Summersville Lake.

Patterson Trail at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park (Easy) 2 miles, loop, 308ft elevation gain

View from Patterson Trail at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park

This trail loops around a Civil War battle site and is spotted with overlooks of the Gauley River. During the month of September, hikers can watch whitewater rafters float down the river.

Cliffside Trail at Hawks Nest State Park (Hard) 1.8 miles, loop, 364ft elevation gain

View from a Hawks Nest State Park overlook

Though a viewpoint along this trail is easily accessible by a roadside stop, the cliffside trail features and in-depth view of the hillside with waterfalls.

Endless Wall at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (Easy) 3.2 miles, out & back, 318ft elevation gain

View at Endless Wall at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

This trek goes through rich forests, crosses hidden creeks, and follows the cliff’s edge, looking out 1000ft over the New River. Though some sources say it is a loop trail with some of the path on rt 82 the National Park Service highly discourages people from walking along the road due to the dangerous speeds at which people drive and the lack of visibility on the hills and turns.

Bridge Buttress at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (Moderate) 0.1 miles, out & back, 39ft elevation gain

Sunset view from the top of Bridge Buttress Trail

This short but steep trail is also a popular spot for rock climbers. The rockface at the top reveals views of the New River Gorge Bridge, the New River Gorge, and the New River.

Kaymoor Miners Trail at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (Moderate) 1.5miles, out & back, 951ft elevation gain

View from the Kaymoor Trail out into the gorge. Photo from the National Park Service

The Kaymoor Miners Trail descends partially into the New River Gorge to the Kaymoor mine site. Hikers will not only get a beautiful view of the gorge with waterfalls along the way, but will also have the opportunity to see historic structures from the mining operation. Those who feel up to the challenge, can descend even farther into the gorge and down the 821 steps to the Kaymoor tipple and coke ovens.

Climbing, sitting, or walking on walls and other constructed features weakens them. Please leave historic structures and artifacts as you find them, where they help tell the story of the past. The railroad track at river level is active line and private property; do not walk on or cross the tracks.The trail does not reach the New River.

Long Point at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (Easy) 3 miles, out & back, 344ft elevation gain

View from the Long Point Trail at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

This forested trail leads to an iconic view of the New River Gorge Bridge and the surrounding New River Gorge.

Skyline Trail at Babcock State Park (Easy) 4 miles, out & back, 580ft elevation gain

View from the Skyline Trail at Babcock State Park

The Skyline Trail follows a mountain side at Babcock State Park. This trek is sprinkled with views of the surrounding gorge and far off mountains.

Grandview Rim Trail at New River Gorge National Park (Easy) 3.1 miles, out & back, 255ft elevation gain

View from one of the overlooks on the Grandview Rim Trail

This ridge-side trail starts by the Grandview Visitor Center and features multiple overlooks of the New River, surrounding mining towns, and culminates at the Turkey Spur overlook tower.

Cliffside Trail at Twin Falls State Resort Park (Moderate) 3 miles, out & back, 311ft elevation gain

View from Cliffside Trail at Twin Falls State Resort Park

This gentle ridgetop path leads a rocky loop trail with to two different vistas of the surrounding mountains of southern West Virginia.

Rocky Ridge Trail at Greenbrier State Forest (Hard) 4.9 miles, out & back, 1,541ft elevation gain

View from Kate’s Mountain at Greenbrier State Forest. Photo from Backroads of Appalachia.

This trail begins a quarter of a mile from the service area where it crosses with Old Roads Trail. Hikers will climb Kate’s Mountain and ends about 0.3 of a mile from Kate’s Mountain overlook.

Falling Rock Trail to Overlook Trail at Pinnacle Rock State Park (Easy to Moderate) 0.6 miles, out & back, 104 ft elevation gain

Hiker looking at Pinnacle Rock

As soon as hikers arrive at the parking lot, they will feel the need to climb Pinnacle Rock. The top of the rocky, bare hillside has a small platform for views of the surrounding hills.

Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest (Moderate) 2.1 miles, out & back, 462ft elevation gain

Hanging Rock Raptor Observation tower

The Hanging Rock Observatory is known as a great spot to look for migrating hawks, as well as watching both the sunrise and sunset. The trail and observation station are along a mountain escarpment that is on the border of West Virginia and Virginia. Views include farms, mountains, and valleys of both Virginias.