August 11, 2022

The Appalachian Mountains ripple throughout West Virginia, their forested slopes hiding a community of trails that plunge down gorges, roll previous waterfalls, navigate boulder fields and ribbon alongside historic rivers.

From the high-elevation wilds of Dolly Sods to the sandstone boulders of Beartown, distinctive herbal options are geologic highlights. Mining and logging historical past provides context to most of the perspectives, whilst two nationwide parks – Harpers Ferry and New River Gorge – name the Mountain State house. And the 35 state parks, which show off probably the most state’s very best trails? They all are loose. Listed below are six trails to get you began.

Never-ending Wall Path

Best possible hike for giant perspectives
3-mile loop, 1-2 hours, simple to average 

With dizzying perspectives of the New River Gorge and its historic sandstone cliffs, the Never-ending Wall Path in New River Gorge Nationwide Park packs a memorable punch. The cliffs alongside the path are in style for rock mountain climbing, and on great days you’ll most probably percentage the trail with climbers heading to and from the rim. 

From the Fern Creek parking space, the path meanders via a thick woodland marked via rhododendron thickets, moss-covered logs and the eerie creaking of the towering timber, which sway within the rim-top breezes. After crossing Fern Creek, the path ribbons alongside the brink of the canyon, the place brief spur trails finish at sheer-walled rock ledges. After one mile, a signed path cuts towards the Diamond Level Disregard.

Just a small proportion of the arena’s rivers waft north, and the New River is one among them. One of the crucial oldest rivers on the earth, the New has carved a constant trail throughout the Appalachian Plateau. Proof of its energy unfurls dramatically from the southern fringe of Diamond Level, the place you’ll have an unobstructed view of each the water and the apparently unending cliffs. For a nice 2.2-mile out-and-back, go back the way in which you got here.

In a different way, proceed alongside the rim to the Nuttall trailhead parking space on Lansing-Edmond Rd. For a three-mile loop, in moderation observe Lansing-Edmond Rd north for 1 / 4 mile or so again in your automobile. There’s a slender gravel walkway beside the street. Word: This path will get busy. If the parking a lot are complete, don’t park at the highway. You could be towed. 

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Uncover West Virginia open air

Seneca Rocks Path

Best possible hike to an iconic landmark
3 miles roundtrip, 2 hours, average

Emerging just about 900ft, the craggy peaks of Seneca Rocks minimize a dramatic profile in opposition to the skyline within the far flung wilds of Monongahela Nationwide Wooded area. The primary recorded rock mountain climbing ascent used to be in 1939, and droves of climbers from up and down the East Coast have pushed to this far-flung spot ever since. Its sandstone flanks hang greater than 400 routes, yet land-loving mortals too can revel in up-close perspectives of the formation – they only wish to hike the 1.5-mile path Seneca Rocks Path. 

From the Seneca Rocks Parking House, the path crosses the North Fork of the South Department of the Potomac River, then rolls via a hardwood woodland. A chain of switchbacks kicks in, emerging 700ft. The path ends at an commentary deck on the northern finish of the steep-walled formation. Perspectives of the valley, the North Fork and surrounding peaks unfold out majestically past the white-gray rocks. Spruce Knob, the state’s best possible level at 4,863ft, may be visual to the south.

For more info about leisure actions within the nationwide woodland and to be informed extra about rock mountain climbing right here, prevent via the Seneca Rocks Discovery Heart, which is a brief stroll from the parking space. 

Beartown State Park Loop

Best possible hike for households
.5-mile loop, 1 hour, simple 

Regardless of the identify, it’s not going that any bears might be noticed on this state park. However children could have a laugh darting across the fragmented boulders that line this brief lo op on Suspend Mountain. The large rocks are items of historic sandstone that experience damaged off from the mountain’s japanese summit. The park’s identify used to be impressed via the various caves and crevices within the boulders, which resemble black undergo dens.

Tucked deep in a shadowy woodland darkish with hemlocks and yellow birches, the path follows a wood boardwalk that drops, climbs, twists and infrequently squeezes via a veritable wonderland of moss-covered boulders, sheer rock faces and overhanging cliffs. Among the rocks, with their inexperienced, fern-topped crowns, resemble creatures from a fable novel. Signage alongside the boardwalk discusses the park’s geology and its lush plant existence. 

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The park is 25 miles north of Lewisburg and open April via October. Lengthen the journey with a day trip to within reach Suspend Mountain Battlefield State Park, the place a wood lookout tower supplies a sweeping view of the Greenbrier River Valley and within reach mountains. 

Sunrise from Dolly Sods Wilderness area in West Virginia with sunbeams coming through dark clouds.
Do not stray a long way off the crushed trail at Dolly Sods – the world used to be used as a WWII coaching flooring, and there could also be unexploded ordnance within the wasteland © Pictures via Deb Snelson / Getty Pictures

Dolly Sods Wasteland: Undergo Rocks Path to Rocky Ridge Path

Best possible hike for dramatic perspectives
8 miles round-trip, 4-5 hours, average

With its rocky and windswept terrain – evocative of the mountain areas of southern Canada and New England – this high-altitude wasteland house atop the Allegheny Plateau is far flung, most commonly empty and starkly stunning. It’s possible you’ll stumble upon crowds on summer time and fall weekends, in particular close to Undergo Rocks Keep and its high-elevation perspectives, yet spotty cell-phone provider and gravel woodland roads resulting in the trailheads are deterrents for some. Do not stray a long way from the paths – the world used to be used as a WWII coaching flooring, and there could also be unexploded ordnance within the wasteland.

From the Undergo Rocks trailhead, a large number of loops are conceivable – yet remember that as a wasteland house, signage is minimum, and route-finding will also be tough. The Undergo Rocks Path crosses an unlimited meadow, often referred to as a sods, that used to be created after the world used to be logged within the early 1900s. Lately it is coated with rocks, shrub grasses and pink spruce. At 2.4 miles, flip proper onto the Raven Ridge Path, following it throughout extra meadows and thru a small woodland to the Rocky Ridge Path.

Apply the latter south alongside the high-elevation ridge line, then minimize left to a distinguished patch of sandstone boulders. With a wide ranging view of mountains to the west, it is a great picnic spot. Retrace your steps. It’s conceivable to loop again by way of the Dobbin Grade Path – simply observe that it may be laborious to navigate the Rocky Ridge Path throughout the boulders to achieve the Dobbin Grade trailhead. Portions of the Dobbin Grade can get boggy.

Kaymoor Miners Path

Best possible hike for historical surroundings
2 miles, 2 hours, strenuous 

Because the New River carved its means throughout the Appalachian Plateau, it steadily uncovered seams of high quality coal trapped deep within the rock. As soon as found out, mining corporations descended, and small communities sprang as much as give a boost to the excavating operations.

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Established within the Eighteen Nineties, the Kaymoor mines had been probably the most best within the gorge prior to ceasing operations in 1962, churning out greater than 16 million heaps of coal. The fast-but-steep Kaymoor Miners Path, which starts close to Fayetteville, drops from the rim of the gorge by way of steps and switchbacks to the mining website. From there, 876 steps plunge to the ruins of a coal-processing plant and the deserted townsite close to the river. Hikers will have to go away artifacts alongside the path undisturbed, and remember that the teach tracks alongside the river are nonetheless energetic. 

The Kaymoor Path runs parallel to the river alongside the center slopes of the gorge, and it intersects the Kaymoor Miners Path the place it passes the mine. A two-mile segment of the Kaymoor Path is closed because of volatile slopes, so plan your course in moderation if you wish to hyperlink to different trails.

New River Gorge Bridge, seen between greenery and foliage beginning to turn colors
The Canyon Rim Boardwalk Path ends with a tree-framed view of the smooth New River Gorge Bridge © Jorge Moro / Shutterstock

Canyon Rim Boardwalk & Sandstone Boardwalk Trails

Best possible hike for accessibility
Canyon Rim Boardwalk, .2 miles roundtrip, 15 min, simple
Sandstone Falls Boardwalk, .4 miles roundtrip, 15-30min, simple

Two obtainable boardwalk trails in New River Gorge Nationwide Park finish at scenic overlooks. The Canyon Rim Boardwalk Path starts close to the Canyon Rim Customer Heart and ends with a tree-framed view of the smooth New River Gorge Bridge, one of the crucial longest single-span arch bridges on the earth. From the disregard, 178 steps drop to a 2nd standpoint.  

The Sandstone Falls Boardwalk Path is 55 using miles south of the Canyon Rim Customer Heart. The trailhead seems after a scenic 8-mile power alongside the New River. The totally obtainable boardwalk crosses a number of forested islands prior to finishing at a riverside commentary deck. The 1,500ft-long falls stretch photogenically around the river simply upstream, losing 10ft to 25ft.

Protection suggestions and restrictions throughout a plague can trade unexpectedly. Lonely Planet recommends that vacationers at all times test with native government for up-to-date steering prior to touring throughout COVID-19.