Park at Endless Wall Trailhead, WV (GPS: 38.06305,-81.05662)
Main attractions: World-class climbing, hiking, great views
Length: 6 miles loop
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Map and Directions
Last weekend we visited New River Gorge: a magnificent canyon in the Appalachian Mountains.
The New River, second oldest river in the world after the Nile, created this impressive gorge: a paradise for outdoor activities in the East Coast and just 5 hours away from Washington D.C. Endless cliffs to climb, hike, bike and enjoy breathtaking views and rafting. Our favorite spot by far close to home!
The New River Gorge features hundreds of rock formations, creeks and waterfalls, and an unique wildlife adapted over time to the extreme weather conditions - changing from heavy winters to humid and hot summers.
The wide variety of colorful and charming mushrooms always catches our attention.
We have been visiting this place since 2015 and never have enough. There is so much to explore!
Whether its your first time visiting the New River Gorge or you already have been in the area, here are some useful tips to obtain the most of your next visit.
Plan your trip for at least 3 days to be able to get a sense of the gorge. Our favorite campsite is the American Alpine Club campground, with a strong climbers' atmosphere and surrounded by a cool forest.
We stayed there on the 4th of July long-weekend. Every campsite is equipped with two flat wood decks for the tents and a wood table with chair. There is also a common fire pit with free wood logs, and hot showers that work with 25 cent coins.
The lower section of the New River Gorge is one of the coolest places to do whitewater rafting in the United States.
The best company to have a whitewater experience is Adventures on the Gorge. We recommend the 1-day express trip along the New River's lower section, with several class IV rapids and two challenging class V rapids.
The rapids are formed by large shelf drops and boulders. These structures create monster waves, hydraulics and world class whitewater.
3 Best places to hike and climb
The New River is a climbing paradise. But there are several great spots for hiking too. We fell in love with the Endless Wall trail and the Summersville Lake. We also liked the Long Point trail - Butcher's Branch, and Bubba City. What follows is a brief description of these amazing places and its potential for hiking and climbing. If you need detailed information, leave us a comment :-)
1 - Endless Wall
The Endless Wall trail 2.8 miles features caves, boulders, narrow passages, creeks, and endless rock sculptures and walls that can be climbed by experienced traditional and sport climbers.
The Endless Wall trail also has plenty of overlooks of the gorge, the river and the mountains, with exposed buttresses and colorful forests.
Last year we climbed several moderate routes along the Endless Wall. We specially liked the Kaymoor Slabs wall, which is great for people looking for some easy sport on the Endless Wall. Fool Effect (5.9), The Upheaval (5.9), and Little Help From My Friends (5.10a) are all pretty fun moderate sport lines.
2 - Summersville Lake
Summersville Lake is a great hiking and climbing spot located just 30 min north of the New River Gorge. The superb water quality and sandstone cliffs make it a unique place to visit.
The activities include great hikes along creeks and waterfalls, combined with outstanding climbing and a huge lake to swim. We always spend at least a day here when we visit the area.
Orange Oswald is the most popular and magic climbing crag in Summersville Lake. It's a nice tall wall located just a few feet from the water. Great combination! We had a blast climbing moderate classic routes and swimming in the lake to refresh and replenish our energy. There are also some spots for free water soloing.
3 - Long Point - Butcher's Branch
The Long Point trail has a nice overlook of the monumental bridge over the gorge. The clouds usually run low through the gorge and the bridge, creating a misty atmosphere of the surrounding slopes and forests.
Along the trail there are two climbing crags with formidable moderate routes.
The place we like the most was 'Rico Suave' in Kaymoor, a sustained and fun 5.10a route. Its a great spot to climb when its raining because of the big roof that protects the wall.
There is also a nice climbing crag called Butcher's Branch, which features a nice waterfall and several good moderate sport routes, like 'Flight of the Gumbie', a classic and full-value 5.9+ climb.
Fayetteville, small coolest town
The closest town to the Gorge is Fayetteville: a charming small town home for many climbers, bikers and people that fell in love with the gorge. The city has a couple of nice restaurants (highlight for Pies & Pints, Secret Society Sandwich and Cathedral Cafe) and if you are lucky enough you can be invited for some cool 4th July house parties.
Also during 4th July holidays the city and a resort company feature firework shows. We love to be around...
What we did last weekend? We had fun in nature!
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