Sandstone Falls/ Shutterstock Image

Sandstone Falls/ Shutterstock Image

Shaka Guide's New River Gorge National Park Itinerary


Detailed map of New River Gorge with hiking trails, river, and viewpoints.


Welcome to the breathtaking beauty of New River Gorge National Park!

Nestled within the rolling hills and ancient Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, this remarkable natural treasure offers a captivating experience, making it a haven for outdoor lovers and nature lovers alike.

As one of the United States' newest national parks, designated in December 2020, New River Gorge holds a rich tapestry of history, rugged landscapes, and a wealth of recreational opportunities.

These features beckon visitors from far and wide to explore its wonders..

Spanning over 70,000 acres, New River Gorge National Park covers a stunning river valley carved by the amazing New River.

Considered one of the oldest and most biologically diverse rivers in North America, it adds to the park's allure for visitors.

Outdoor lovers will find a playground of possibilities within New River Gorge National Park.

From world-class whitewater rafting and kayaking on the roaring river to challenging rock climbing routes that tempt the brave spirit, there is no shortage of thrills for adrenaline seekers.

The diverse range of activities caters to those seeking exciting experiences in the great outdoors.

Park's Heritage

A train chugging on a railroad track with a coal tower nearby.Shutterstock Image

But one of the most unique aspects of the park is its preservation of industrial heritage.

Abandoned towns, mining infrastructure, and a railroad point to a past in the Industrial Revolution.

And of course, the New River Gorge Bridge is an engineering marvel that attracts everyone from casual car trippers to BASE jumpers.

Whether you seek solace in nature's peace, the thrill of outdoor activities, or wish to immerse yourself in the Appalachian landscape, New River Gorge National Park promises unforgettable experiences.

Its diverse offerings cater to a wide range of interests, ensuring memorable visits.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Itinerary 

The Shaka Guide tour of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve makes a loop, connecting the park’s attractions on the north side and south side.

The tour can be taken clockwise or counterclockwise, starting from five different points.

This itinerary is the order of stops going clockwise, leaving from the town of Beckley, WV.

1. Thurmond

Railroad tracks stretching into the distance.Shutterstock Image

Approximate Time: 30 minutes

Once a thriving hub of coal mining and transportation, Thurmond now stands as a preserved time capsule.

It offers visitors a glimpse into the region's rich industrial past.

The ghost town is famous for its well-preserved train depot, which serves as a museum.

It shows exhibits and artifacts that detail the area's coal mining heritage.

With its beautiful location along the New River, Thurmond invites exploration.

It serves as a reminder of the resilience and significance of the coal industry and railroad, shaping the local community and the surrounding natural landscape.

2. Long Point Trailhead

Scenic overlook of a canyon with a river flowing through, surrounded by trees.Shutterstock Image

Approximate time: 1.5 hours

A hiking trail that offers an unforgettable adventure and stunning vistas. This moderate 3.2-mile out-and-back trail winds through a forest, leading hikers to the breathtaking Long Point Overlook.

Once you reach the overlook, prepare to be amazed by the panoramic views of the New River Gorge Bridge. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in West Virginia.

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3. Kaymoor Miners Trail

Scenic river with crystal clear water and overhanging trees.

Approximate time: 1.5 - 2 hours

This difficult 1-mile trail takes hikers on a captivating exploration through the remains of the Kaymoor coal mine, once a busy industrial complex.

As you trek along the trail, you'll encounter the remains of coal processing structures, mine entrances, and more.

However, the trail isn’t for the faint of heart, as much of the trail heads downhill going in. Then uphill all the way back up, with hundreds of steps.

4. Canyon Rim Visitor Center

 Breathtaking view of New River Gorge bridge surrounded by lush greenery and flowing river below.Shutterstock Image

Approximate time: 30 minutes

The Canyon Rim Visitor Center serves as the gateway to the awe-inspiring wonders of New River Gorge.

Located on the edge of the majestic gorge, this visitor center offers a wealth of information and resources for visitors. It improves their exploration of the park.

Inside, you'll find informative displays on the area's geology, ecology, and cultural history.

Step outside onto the observation decks, and you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the New River Gorge Bridge. The sprawling canyon below adds to the awe-inspiring scenery.

5. Fayette Station Road Overlooks

A road winding through a lush green forest.Shutterstock Image

Approximate time: 5-10 minutes

Whether you're admiring the vibrant fall foliage or capturing stunning photographs, the Fayette Station Road scenic drive offers a calm experience.

It allows you to immerse yourself in the old way of crossing the New River Gorge, down and up a winding road.

On the first stop of the scenic drive, we’ll visit overlooks directly underneath the New River Gorge Bridge.

This will allow you to appreciate the engineering marvel from a new angle.

6. Tunney Hunsaker Bridge

A picturesque bridge over a tranquil river, surrounded by lush greenery.Shutterstock Image

Approximate time: 10-15 minutes

We’ll park by the river and walk to the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge, or the ‘little bridge’ as some call it. This was the only way to cross the New River Gorge for a long time.

Today, it’s the midpoint of the Fayette Station Road scenic drive. A walking path on the side provides excellent views of the New River, and the big bridge above.

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7. Kaymoor Trailhead

Scenic trail through lush forest with sunlight filtering through trees and a small stream running alongside.Image from Flickr by 

Approximate time: 15 minutes or more

Just a few dozen steps from this trailhead are two waterfalls, both easily visible from the trail.

If you were to continue on the trail for two miles, the hike leads to the Kaymoor Mine and intersects with the Kaymoor Miners Trail.

8. Endless Wall Trail

Autumn sunset behind mountain cliffs.Shutterstock Image

Approximate time: 2-3 hours

A captivating, moderately difficult hiking trail that winds along the rim of the gorge for 2.4 miles.

It showcases the raw beauty of the rugged canyon as it winds through forests and along towering cliffs.

Along the way, hikers are treated to breathtaking vistas of the New River winding through the gorge.

Stunning rock formations that attract climbers from around the world can also be observed.

The trail is a loop, with two parking lots to choose from.

Our recommendation is to hike as far as Diamond Point from either of the lots. Then, turn around and return to the car.

9. Babcock State Park

Water wheel in front of historic mill.Shutterstock Image

Approximate time: 30 minutes or more

The main attraction at Babcock State Park is a beautiful and iconic landmark. It's a fully working replica of a historic water-powered mill.

Surrounded by lush greenery and set against the backdrop of babbling Glade Creek, the mill's rustic wooden structure, complete with a working water wheel, exudes charm and memories.

It’s a popular photography spot! The state park also has its own hiking trails and a gift shop in the visitor center.

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10. Sandstone Visitor Center

Approximate time: 20 minutes

This visitor center has exhibits on the area’s ecosystems and human history. It’s also a handy stop to get information about Sandstone Falls.

This is before starting on an optional, but very scenic drive towards the waterfall.

11. Sandstone Falls Overlook

Scenic river with rocks and trees in foreground, featuring beautiful waterfalls.Shutterstock Image

Approximate time: 5 minutes

If you're on the fence about driving all the way to Sandstone Falls, you can get a small peek at this overlook.

The view isn’t fantastic, but it’s useful as a turnaround point. It can be used if you decide to prioritize other parts of the park.

12. Brooks Overlook

A stunning waterfall cascading down rocky cliffs surrounded by lush greenery.Image from Flickr by 

Approximate time: 5 minutes or more

This overlook offers a nice view of the New River Gorge from a few hundred feet up. The road descends closer to the river level as it heads towards Hinton.

The overlook is just a small pull-off, but the view is better than the one at Sandstone Falls Overlook.

13. Brooks Falls Roadside Park

Approximate time: 10 minutes 

Enjoy some quality time next to the New River at this small riverside park. Picnic benches sit just feet from the river, and the rippling Brooks Falls.

14. Sandstone Falls

A waterfall cascades over rocks in a river.Shutterstock Image

Approximate time: 45 minutes

One of the highlights of the park is Sandstone Falls, which spreads 1500 feet across the entire New River.

It descends into crumbling rock formations, adding to the scenic beauty of the area.

A series of boardwalks take you through a wooded island in the middle of the river, and to different views of the falls.

For a more secluded experience, try the Island Loop Trail, which is an easy, half-mile trail through the woods of the island.

15. Grandview

A breathtaking view from a tall mountain, showing a river below. It's like being on top of the world!

Approximate time: 30 minutes or more

One of the ‘grandest’ views of the park, the Grandview area has something for everyone.

The main overlook sits near the highest point in the park, overlooking a spectacular curve in the gorge.

A handful of trails leave from near the overlook. They take hikers along the cliff walls and to additional scenic overlooks of the river.

Grandview also sports a seasonal visitor center, informational wayside stations, and a playground.

Explore New River Gorge with Shaka Guide 🤙

With five entrances into the tour leading to the park, and with content going clockwise and counterclockwise, the order of stops is completely customizable.

Whichever way you start, or end your tour, you'll be sure to experience the best New River Gorge National Park and Preserve has to offer as you join Shaka Guide's tour of this Appalachian wonder.

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Ready to take the tour? Check out Shaka Guide's New River Gorge National Park Tour!

We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

For more detailed information to help you plan, check out our Know Before You Go article.

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A breathtaking view of the New River Gorge National Park, showcasing its natural beauty and rugged terrain.

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