Best Hiking in West Virginia: Top Trails in the Mountain State

Heading to West Virginia on a hiking trip? Our guide to the best hiking in West Virginia will introduce you to the top trails in the Mountain State and provide all the info you need to enjoy your hikes.

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Best Hiking Trails in West Virginia

Looking for the best West Virginia hiking trails?

You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:

    • Nine of the best hikes in West Virginia
    • Info and tips for each of our featured trails
    • Family and expert-appropriate hikes in the outdoor paradise of WV

John Denver wasn’t lying when he sang “Almost heaven, West Virginia.” The Mountain State is filled with heavenly beauty and has the highest average elevation of any state east of the Mississippi. It’s also, we’re happy to report, home to some phenomenal hiking trails!

Use our guide to the best West Virginia hikes to find your next adventure, whether it’s a history lesson at Harper’s Ferry, scaling Chimney Top, or standing on the precipice of the New River Gorge.

Best Hiking in West Virginia: Our 9 Favorite Trails

1. Endless Wall Trail, New River Gorge National Park

New River from Diamond Point, Endless Wall Trail, New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia
A short hike filled with incredible views.
  • Type: Point-to-point
  • Length: 2.3 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate

If you only have time for one West Virginia hike, make it the Endless Wall Trail in New River Gorge National Park. It may be a short hike, but it is jam-packed with awesome views, breathtaking drop-offs, and impressive overlooks.

The trail passes through deep West Virginia forest, along cliff edges, and over Fern Creek. In places, the trail hugs steep cliffs on one side and drop-offs on the other. Use Diamond Point for an amazing look at the gorge walls and the New River nearly 1,000 feet below. This place is a mecca for rock climbing, so keep an eye out for climbers on those walls!

The trail is usually taken on as a point-to-point hike. If you do this, be prepared for a 0.5-mile walk on the road to get back to the parking area. You can also hike it as an out-and-back. Either way, you’re in for a stellar time.

Don’t forget to stop at the National Park Visitor Center and take the 0.6-mile out-and-back Canyon Rim Overlook Boardwalk trail. From the top, you’ll see the impressive 900-foot tall and 3,000-foot long New River Gorge Bridge and the stunning chasm it spans.

2. Long Point Trail

New River Gorge bridge, West Virginia
Stunning views of the New River Gorge Bridge.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

Long Point Trail offers hikers another perspective of the grandeur of the New River Gorge. The trail meanders through tall oak and maple trees with a steep section right before the Point. The trail leaves the shaded forest at the end and opens up to a rock outcropping called Long Point. 

From the rock overlook, you might hear the shouts of joy-filled whitewater rafters or see rock climbers scaling the gorge’s walls. The point provides jaw-dropping views of the bridge and surrounding gorge, but be careful around cliff edges.

All but the last 0.2 miles of the trail are open to mountain biking. Be on the lookout for bikers, and keep your furry friends on a leash.

3. North Fork Mountain Trail to Chimney Top

View from Chimney Top, North Fork Mountain Trail, West Virginia
The best views in the Virginias.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 5.3 miles
  • Difficulty: Challenging

The North Fork Mountain to Chimney Top hike is strenuous and challenging, especially toward the end. Your reward is some of the best views in the Virginias. The trail makes lazy switchbacks through a dense forest for the first two miles.

At the two-mile mark, you will reach a ridgeline. From the ridgeline, you’ll be able to see the north fork of the Potomac River and the high mountains of the Canaan Valley. The trail follows the ridge for about half a mile and has been rerouted from the ridgeline to give space to nesting peregrine falcons.

There are various rock faces along the way, but keep going. The last half mile is steep and rocky but well worth it. From the Chimney Top, you’ll see impressive cliff faces and expansive views of the valley below. You can even climb the chimney top itself…but proceed with caution!

Pro-Tip: Look out for timber rattlesnakes on the ridgeline.

4. Harpers Ferry Section of the Appalachian Trail

Harpers Ferry Section of the Appalachian Trail, West Virginia
A history lesson and a gorgeous hike all in one.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy-moderate

Three miles of the Appalachian Trail pass through Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. This blue-blazed section of the AT gives hikers a taste of the rich history and beauty of West Virginia. From the trail, hikers can visit many historical sites, including the Storer College Campus, the Harper Cemetery, and the Lockwood House, where you can see 19th-century graffiti.

In addition to a history lesson, the Harper’s Ferry Section of the Appalachian Trail also has inspiring landscapes. Throughout the hike, you’ll see the famous Blue Ridge Mountains and, from Jefferson Rock, the Confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. 

You can start this section of the AT from either end of the park, from the Information Center in Lower Town or the Appalachian Trail Visitor Center.

“The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature.”

Thomas Jefferson portraitThomas Jefferson
Founding Father of the United States

5. Lindy Point Trail, Blackwater Falls State Park

Sunset on Lindy Point Trail, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia
Short and sweet!
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 0.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

Lindy Point Trail is short and sweet. The flat hiking trail is lined with rhododendrons and leads to a wooden platform and gorgeous views. Looking to the west is Blackwater Canyon, 3,000 feet below. If you’re trying to catch a dramatic sunrise or sunset, plan accordingly and bring headlamps.

The trail to the overlook is marked with red trail blazes and begins at a small parking lot. If the lot is full, park on the roadside or at the ski center a mile down the road. Follow the red trail blazes to the Lindy Point Overlook viewing point, and don’t forget your camera.

6. Seneca Rocks Trail, Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area

Seneca Rocks Trail, Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, West Virginia
One of West Virginia’s most famous landmarks.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 3.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area is home to one of West Virginia’s most famous landmarks. You don’t have to be a geologist to enjoy the towering rock formations and impressive views. 

Starting from the Visitor Center, the Seneca Rocks Trail takes hikers up 700 feet in elevation gain to an observation platform. The hike is steep in places. Be prepared to navigate several switchbacks and staircases on the way to the platform. 

You should also be prepared for mesmerizing views. Awe-inspiring quartzite rock fins rise 900 feet above the North Fork River. Look for rock climbers on the sheer cliff faces that dominate the skyline.

Some maps suggest you can go to the top of the rock fins. However, observe posted signs and do not go further than the observation platform unless you have climbing gear. 

7. Bear Rocks Trail, Bear Rocks Preserve

Bear Rocks Trail, Bear Rocks Preserve, West Virginia
Hike through classic West Virginia wilderness.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 4.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

Bear Rocks Preserve encompasses 477 acres of classic West Virginia wilderness. The preserve’s sandstone rock outcroppings and unique Cranberry bogs are among the most photographed places in the state.

Use the easy, 4.8-mile Bear Rocks Trail to explore the Dolly Sods Wilderness area of the preserve. The trail passes through fields of blueberry and huckleberry bushes that light up red in the fall. Look for wildlife and birds as you hike, including the rare raptors and warblers.

You can turn this 4.8-mile out-and-back hike into a more challenging loop. Bear Rocks Trail intersects with the Raven Ridge and Dobbins Grade Trail. Hiking all three trails forms a 6.6-mile, moderately difficult loop. If you choose to do this, be aware that the Dobbins Grade Trail travels through a bog area and can get very wet and muddy. 

Warning: The Dolly Sods Wilderness was used as an artillery training ground during WWII. There may be unexploded ordinances in the area. Keep pets and children close and stay on established trails.

8. Blackwater Falls Trail, Blackwater Falls State Park

Blackwater Falls Trail, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia
Spend a day chasing waterfalls on easy and moderate trails.
  • Type: Loop
  • Length: 0.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy-moderate

The Blackwater Falls Trail is short, but with over 200 stairs, it can be challenging for some. If you’re up for the quad-burning steps, you’ll be rewarded with close-up and breathtaking views of a 60-foot waterfall. From the observation deck, you can even feel the spray of crashing water.

Blackwater Falls State Park has over 20 miles of hiking trails. You can spend a whole day exploring the tannic acid-tinted waters on other trails in the park. For example, you can enjoy Elakala Falls via the Yellow Birch Trail or take in the gorge from above on the Pendleton Point Overlook Trail. 

No matter where you go in the park, hiking is easy to moderate and family-friendly. 

9. Roadside Trail, Coopers Rock State Forest

Roadside Trail, Coopers Rock State Forest, West Virginia
An easy yet secluded trail with stunning views of Cheat River.
  • Type: Out and back
  • Length: 6.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

Try the popular Roadside Trail in Coopers Rock State Forest for a scenic and easy hike. Starting from the first day-use parking lot on Coopers Rock Road. At first, the trail is rocky and steep but quickly flattens into a family- and beginner-friendly hike.

There are two lookout points on this hike. The Coopers Rock Overlook is at the end of the out portion of the hike and offers sublime views of the Cheat River and surrounding mountains. Even though the trail parallels the road, you still get solitude and quiet as the trail passes through the forest and across open meadows.

Happy Hiking!

West Virginia is a hiker’s heaven, full of history, beauty, and world-class scenery. The Mountain State has something for everyone, from expert scrambles to family-friendly walks. No matter where you hike, we guarantee that the trails and the views will be absolutely amazing.

We hope our guide to the top hiking in West Virginia helps you find your next hike. If you’ve been out on West Virginia’s trails lately, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below and be sure to share this post with your hiking partner.

Last update on 2023-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Megan Large Avatar

Megan hails from southwest Colorado, where she grew up hiking and camping. Since then, she has been on the road, working as an outdoor guide. She's guided hiking trips in British Columbia, whitewater in Washington and Idaho, and taught skiing across Colorado.

Megan has spent over 100 days camping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and is currently bagging Colorado's 14ers with her Border Collie, Alli. When she's not getting lost on the trail, you can find Megan wherever there's WIFI sharing her outdoor experience so that others may learn from her mistakes.

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