Winter Hiking – Endless Wall TrailMarch 1, 2019
Stunning views of the New River Gorge Bridge and the steep sandstone cliffs that line the gorge make the Endless Wall Trail in Lansing one of the most notable trails in Southern West Virginia. Named the Best National Park Hike in USA Today’s Best Readers’ Choice contest in 2015, this trail is popular year-round. But, with the leaves off the trees and a blanket of snow on the ground, the gorge overlooks offer up even more amazing views that can only be seen in the winter.
What You’ll See
Starting out at the Fern Creek Trailhead, you’ll hit the trail and start winding through the forest. Along the way, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful forest, peppered with rhododendron and evergreen trees. At Fern Creek, cross the small metal bridge and tackle a short rocky incline before the trail levels out again.
As you get closer to the gorge, you’ll see a few small trails break off from the main trail. These are climber access trails. Stick to the main trail until you see signs for the Diamond Point overlook – the most popular overlook on the trail. On the edge of a giant sandstone cliff, Diamond Point offers great views of the gorge and the New River 1,000 feet below. While this overlook is beautiful every time of the year, in the winter, the view opens up so you can see more of the sandstone cliffs that line the gorge. With enough rain or recent snowmelt, you may also see waterfalls along the cliffline that aren’t visible in the summer months.
If you’re lucky, you may see some rock climbers clinging to the cliffs on either side of you. Be careful at the overlook – snow and ice can make it slippery, so stay at least a few feet from the edge.
Diamond Point is often the turnaround point for most hikers and makes the overall hike about 2 miles. You can either head back the way you came or you can continue on the main trailhead. Continuing down the trail, you’ll hike along the edge of the gorge and then wind back through the forest to the road.
How to Get There
There are two trailheads for the Endless Wall Trail. Heading north over the New River Gorge Bridge on Route 19, turn right onto Lansing-Edmond Road just past the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. The Fern Creek Trailhead is located just 1.3 miles up the road with a parking area and restrooms located near the trailhead. The Nuttall Trailhead is 1.8 miles from Route 19. Make sure you park in one of the parking lots because cars parked along the road are subject to be towed.
The trail is often used as an “out and back” trail to Diamond Point, but you can complete the loop from one trailhead to the other. If you parked at the Fern Creek Trailhead, you’ll need to walk back along the road for ½ mile to the parking lot. This is a narrow road so be sure to walk against traffic and keep an eye out for cars. With the additional trail and walk along the road, completing the loop is just under 3 miles.