June 21, 2020
The 5 Best Hikes in West Virginia
Summer has officially arrived, much to the delight of hikers, backpackers, and birders who value the lushest of seasons. Nature enthusiasts can hike just about anywhere, but nothing upstages the gorgeous, densely-thicketed Appalachian Mountains in the great state of West Virginia. A common destination for outdoor thrills and exploration is the New River Gorge, home to world-class ACE Adventure Resort. ACE offers a bevy of award-winning guiding services, including whitewater rafting, ATVing, ziplining, and, yes, hiking. These half-day hikes are the perfect introduction to the region. Each group learns about the valley’s history, wildlife, and flora on some of the best hikes in West Virginia, while also obtaining a handful of jaw-dropping (and nondisclosed) gorge overlooks.
The Best Hikes in West Virginia: Explore the New River Gorge
There’s a seemingly endless network of New River Gorge trails that meander and snake through the verdant forestry. Many of the best hikes in West Virginia include sprawling views of the rolling Appalachian Mountains and, you guessed it, the 3,000-foot-long New River Gorge Bridge, home to the world-famous Bridge Day. This particularly stunning slice of West Virginian paradise is known for its heart-stopping overlooks, eerie ghost towns, and unspoiled backcountry waterfalls.
It’s only natural that we begin with one of the most beloved hiking trails in West Virginia: the Endless Wall. Over the decades, the Endless Wall has evolved into a rock climber’s dreamland. But the 2.3-mile hike also remains a genuinely magical experience. Walk beside colorful sandstone, babbling brooks, and flourishing mushrooms before basking near the cliff’s edge.
Whereas the Endless Wall hugs the cliff line, Long Point juts into the hemlock forest en route to the most breathtaking vantage point in the state. Long Point itself peers toward the New River Gorge Bridge and the towering Appalachians behind it. The views are particularly stunning in the foggy morn.
As mentioned earlier, the New River Gorge is known for its copious amount of off-trail waterfalls. Because of the region’s many slopes, backcountry waterfalls are not hard to find. Oftentimes, backpackers go “waterfalling” with nothing more than a map, compass, and years of intuition under their belt. The steep stroll down into Kaymoor Mine is a photographer’s delight, thanks to the falls, mining remnants, and curious wildlife.
The Grandview Rim Trail lies two dozen miles south of Thurmond. The 3.3-mile, out-and-back trail begins along the edge of Grandview itself. Most tourists stop here for the main overlook, which is undeniably beautiful. But there’s a lot to love about these woods, including rugged cliffs, families of deer, and a wide range of New River Gorge overlooks. Grandview Rim remains one of the best hikes in West Virginia, primarily for its lack of foot traffic.
Many of the best hikes in West Virginia include a look into the past. Rend Trail is no different. Yes, you’ll trek into the vast, dense “unknown,” but you’ll also stroll past Thurmond, a long-forgotten railside ghost town. The trail also meanders down to the New River’s edge at water level, which is a treat in and of itself.
Beach Vacation Alternative: The New River Gorge
Backpacking in West Virginia has never been more alluring than it is today, especially with so many Americans swapping a beach getaway with an outdoorsy family adventure. Adventure tourism is at its peak. And there’s no better place to escape than ACE Adventure Resort. Not only are we within driving distance of many of the country’s largest cities, but we also have our own secluded beach, complete with an outdoor water park! Surf the river rapids, hike the Endless Wall, zip through the sky, and paddle atop serene Summersville Lake. Please don’t hesitate to browse through our adventurous vacation packages and luxury log cabins before booking directly online.