As famous as the New River Gorge is for mountain bikers, it is even more so for whitewater paddlers. And even more so for rock climbers, anglers, birders, and BASE jumpers. But the fact is, more hikers visit the New River Gorge area to tread the trails each year than all of those others combined.
What Makes It Great
To all you adventure sports enthusiasts, the New River Gorge, or “The New” as locals call it, is the land of convenience. Nowhere else in America can you find as much world-class adventure as here—and the hiking is no different. Though it’s not a good backpacking destination (there’s a distinct lack of multi-day trails), the New is day-hiking Nirvana. Short loops and out-and-backs abound, and nearly all of them come with mind-blowing vistas of the Gorge.
Two hikes stand out as especially memorable—the Endless Wall Loop Trail and the Long Point Trail. In 2015, USA Today named the Endless Wall Trail the single best National Park day hike in America, so that’s saying something. At the Long Point Trail’s namesake terminus, Long Point juts out into the void giving visitors a nearly 360-degree view of the New River Gorge, with its world-famous 876-foot-high bridge front and center. Across the Gorge, the Endless Wall Loop beelines about .75 mile to the canyon rim, then winds its way along the top of the unbroken 3-mile cliff band.
Who is Going to Love It
While even serious hikers will love the views around the New River Gorge, the vast majority of hikes are not at all strenuous. This makes the New River Gorge the premier destination for casual hikers, from families with small kids to couples with grown children and aging dogs in tow.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Definitely stop by the Canyon Rim Visitor Center for all the information on nearby hikes that you could ever need. It's located at 162 Visitor Center Road in Lansing, WV, and is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
To find the motherlode of untrodden gems, pick up Johnny Malloy's Best Easy Day Hikes: New River Gorge.