Southern West Virginia is an incredible place for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a plethora of breathtaking hiking trails. From rugged mountain peaks to serene river valleys, this region is a haven for nature lovers. Let’s explore some of the best hiking trails in southern West Virginia, each offering unique experiences and stunning vistas.
The Endless Wall Trail: Located in the New River Gorge National Park, the Endless Wall Trail is a must-visit for hikers seeking a thrilling adventure. This 2.4-mile trail winds along the rim of the gorge, providing awe-inspiring views of the New River below. The trail is known for its towering cliffs, scenic overlooks, and opportunities for rock climbing. Be prepared for some steep sections, and be sure to bring your camera to capture the stunning vistas. Hikers may get a peek at some of the thousands of rock climbers who often visit the area.
The Cranberry Wilderness: For those seeking a more remote and rugged hiking experience, the Cranberry Wilderness is an ideal destination. This 47,815-acre wilderness area is part of the Monongahela National Forest and offers over 60 miles of trails. The trails meander through dense forests, pristine streams, and open meadows, providing an authentic backcountry experience. The Cranberry River Loop is a popular choice, offering a challenging but rewarding hike through diverse landscapes. The Cranberry Glade boardwalk is also a fantastic place to enjoy the surrounding flora and fauna.
The Greenbrier River Trail: If you prefer a leisurely hike amidst picturesque scenery, the Greenbrier River Trail is perfect for you. This 78-mile rail trail follows the path of the historic Greenbrier River, offering a gentle and scenic journey. The trail is mostly flat, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, you’ll pass through charming small towns, cross old railroad trestles, and enjoy stunning river views. Camping facilities and picnic areas are available, allowing for a multi-day adventure.
Pipestem State Park: Pipestem State Park offers multiple breathtaking hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. With over 20 miles of well-maintained paths, hikers can explore the park’s diverse landscapes and immerse themselves in nature’s beauty. The trails wind through dense forests, meander along the rim of the majestic Bluestone Gorge, and lead to stunning overlooks with panoramic views. From easy strolls to challenging treks, there is a trail for every skill level. Hikers can encounter an abundance of wildlife, including deer, squirrels, and various bird species. Whether seeking solitude or adventure, the hiking trails in Pipestem State Park provide an unforgettable experience for nature lovers.
The Grandview Rim Trail: Situated in the New River Gorge National Park, the Grandview Rim Trail is a moderate loop that showcases the park’s natural beauty. The trail winds along the rim of the gorge, offering panoramic views of the New River and the surrounding mountains. Highlights include the iconic overlooks at Turkey Spur and Main Overlook, where you can witness the breathtaking beauty of the gorge. This trail is particularly stunning during the fall when the foliage transforms into a vibrant tapestry of colors.
Beartown State Park: Beartown is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts, known for its half-mile boardwalk and stunning natural beauty. Nestled in the heart of the mountains, this picturesque destination boasts unusual rocky formations, overhanging cliffs and massive boulders. The trail meanders through the heart of nature. Along the way, hikers can spot various wildlife, including deer, squirrels and birds. Whether you’re seeking solitude or adventure, hiking in Beartown is an experience that will leave you in awe of the great outdoors.
The Bluestone Turnpike Trail: The Bluestone Turnpike Trail is a must-visit for a historical and scenic hike. This 9.5-mile trail follows the path of an old turnpike road that was used during the 19th century. Along the way, you’ll encounter remnants of the past, including old stone walls, bridges, and homesteads. The trail traverses through dense forests, crosses streams, and offers stunning views of the Bluestone River. It’s a perfect blend of history and natural beauty.
Southern West Virginia is a paradise for hikers, offering a diverse range of trails that cater to all skill levels and preferences. Whether you seek adrenaline-pumping adventures or tranquil walks amidst nature, the hiking trails in this region will not disappoint. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the majestic landscapes of southern West Virginia.