New River Gorge
June 6-7, 2010
Near: Fayetteville, WV
Route: Near Fayetteville: Endless Wall Tr
Butcher Branch Tr, Long Point Tr, Fayetteville Tr
Near Thrumond: Rend Tr, Arbuckle Connector, South Side Tr
Near Grandview: Tunnel Tr, Grand View Trail
Pipesteam State Park: Bluestone Turnpike Tr
Type: Loops & Out and Backs
Distance: 25.5 miles
Conditions: Sunny and warm
Impressions: I had heard a lot of good things about this area prior to my trip and it sure didn't disappoint...the town of Fayetteville, WV left a good impression and i hope to make it back there one day...the local outfitter was nice and provided me with my much need map of the area...before i did any hiking, i utilized my map and drove to a couple different locations down into the gorge to view the bridge...Making my way to the Endless Wall Trail, i took in my first looks of the gorge...it's an awesome sight from water level, the basin is wide providing epic views of the surrounding landscape...after lunch, i drove back over the bridge, proceeded towards the Butcher Branch Trail and did a loop/out-and-back using the Long Point Trail and Fayetteville Trail...the view from the end of the Long Point Trail is breathtaking and highly recommended...Later that afternoon, i traveled over to the Rend Trail, Arbuckle Connector and the South Side Trail, all old logging road or train track...there were a couple spots where you can actually see the old tracks with overgrowth on them...as dusk fell, i went to Stone Cliff camping area and spent the night on a small sandy beach...really nice!
The next morning, i drove over to the old rail town of Thurmond and read many historical plaques and signs about the culture and people that once thrived in the area...at one point, this region was one of the wealthiest in the state...it's fascinating to see old, restored towns like this and is also worth the time to go and see...from here, i finished my morning off at the Grandview section of the New...i arrived around 9 am or so and was the only person there...after doing a few miles, i decided to continue on south and came across Pipestem Waterfall, which was bigger than i realized...i took pictures of the Upper Falls, but not the Lower Falls, which was a mistake...When driving on Hwy 20 near Hinton, WV keep an eye out for the very small parking lot/sign combo...Feeling inspired, i went to Pipestem State Park and did another couple miles on the Bluestone Turnpike Trail...this is a fabulous state park from what i saw and have designs on making my way back here in the near future...
Overall, this was a fantastic trip...there weren't any times when i had to hike with a full pack as none of the routes i took required it...most of the hiking i did i would say was average in difficulty, making them doable for most...i would highly recommend Long Point and Pipestem State Park...this trip is perfect for car campers, children, dogs and inexperienced hikers...bring a camera and have fun!
Directions to Trailhead:
Since i used several different trailheads, i will just suggest picking up the map and use it to get to where you'd like to go in the area...Water Stone Outfitters in Fayetteville, WV should have the needed maps...