The hike to the panoramic views is actually less than a few hundred feet, but if you stay up and explore for a bit you can extend the distance.
Destination Distance From Downtown
1 of 5 diamonds
Short and sweet.
Time To Complete
One hour, if you take your time exploring.
While the views are terrific year-round, summer and fall are the best. Beware of winter, when the rocks can be covered in snow and ice. It's a long way down and there is no railing.
On Leash Only
It's outside the National Park, so dogs don't technically have to be on leash, but because of the steep drops, it’s recommended.
Ram’s Head on Beauty Mountain is a 2-minute hike—okay, stroll—to a mind-blowingly beautiful selection of vistas jutting precariously out over West Virginia’s New River Gorge. Don’t forget your camera.
What Makes It Great
Book a whitewater rafting trip on West Virginia’s world famous Lower New River, in the New River Gorge, and you are sure to be struck by the large volume of cliffs rimming the almost 1000-foot-deep canyon. Meander, nay, barrel your way through the rapids, and you will eventually come to a wide right bend at the Third and Fourth Warm Up just above the Keeneys. Look up and right (you really can’t help but to do this) and you will undoubtedly marvel at one hunk of stone in particular. That’s Ram’s Head, and you’ll know it because it’s shaped like the head of a ram. Your next thought will be “How do I get there?”
As it turns out, it doesn’t take much. In fact a quick drive will do the trick. The hike from where you park to one of the most panoramic views of the entire New River Gorge is all of 300 feet, and maybe even a few less.
You can make it last longer, if you like. Wander the power-line cut that parallels the cliff’s edge and you’ll cross several side trails, each of which will take you to a view more glorious than the last.
And for goodness sake, bring a camera.
Who is Going to Love It
Obviously, photographers will love Ram’s Head, but even if all you have is a mobile phone, bring it, because once-in-lifetime pictures at the aptly-named Beauty Mountain are a dime a dozen. They practically take themselves.
Of course, you don’t have to take pictures to enjoy Beauty Mountain. It’s a wonderful picnic spot for the same reasons stated above. Also, if you’re not a hiker or even super outdoorsy, this is one place you’ll want to revisit each season for an unbeatable view that changes dramatically with the calendar.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Beauty Mountain is outside the New River Gorge National River boundaries, so the park rules don’t apply. But it is literally a short walk off a long cliff, so mind your step and keep your dogs on leashes.
From Route 19, turn east on Lansing-Edmond Rd. and follow it for 2.5 miles. Turn right onto Beauty Mountain Road, a gravel track, and follow it for .1 miles, then bear left to stay on Beauty Mountain Road. Follow it for 1.4 more miles to a selection of small pullouts on both sides of the lane. You’ll know you’re in the right spot because the road that previously wound its way through fields and forest is all of a sudden right smack dab on the rim of the New River Gorge.