Hugging the rim of the New River Gorge for about 2 miles, the Endless Wall Trail in West Virginia provides hikers with breathtaking vistas by way of its many rocky overlooks and steep cliffs...
The Endless Wall Trail is about 2 1/2 miles long total if you do the entire loop. But some hikers opt to make it into a moderate in and out 2 mile hike from the Fern Creek or Nutall Trailhead parking lots to the Diamond Point Overlook and back. This is what my son and I opted to do even though we went off the main marked trail a handful of times making our total hike closer to the 3 mile mark.
If you choose to access the Endless Wall Trail by way of the Nuttall Trailhead parking lot, you will first walk through a thick grove of rhododendrons before starting a gradual ascension towards the various rock faces and steep cliffs of the trail.
Random Hiking Tip: When you are hiking with a buddy, carry each other's water bottles in an outside pocket of your backpacks for easy access. This was my son's idea for this most recent hike, and I have no clue how we hadn't thought of this before! So much easier than trying to reach behind yourself to get to your water bottle. ;)
Not only is the Endless Wall Trail used by hikers, but it is also frequented by rock climbers for easier access to the steep cliffs and rock faces that line the trail for the 2 miles or so of the trail that follows the New River about 1000 feet below. There are a handful of secondary trails off from the main trail that are marked specifically for climbing access. Hikers are definitely welcome to explore these trails, but be on the outlook for rock climbers below.
You are surrounded by beautiful vistas all around on the Endless Wall Trail, but watch for the cliff edges. This is not an area where you want to make a misstep or lose your footing, folks!
The main trail actually steers clear of the cliffs and rock face edges, but there are several foot paths that go off from the main trail that lead to rocky overlooks. Some of these overlooks are quite large while others are only a few feet wide. None of the overlooks or cliffs on the Endless Wall Trail have railings, so again be careful when exploring the smaller foot paths or when leaving the main trail.
You cannot dangle your feet over the side of a 1,000 foot cliff without taking the obligatory photo, right? ;)
As you get closer to the Diamond Point Overlook, you will be met with another small path that leads off from the main trail to another climbing access point. This one actually has ladders that will take you down to where rock climbers can access the rock faces and cliffs close to and at Diamond Point. My son and I saw a few hikers climbing up the ladder, but we opted to not be as adventurous this time. Maybe we will brave the ladders on our next visit to the Endless Wall. ;)
And speaking of the Endless Wall, the photo above probably best depicts how this trail got it's name. The cliffs and rock faces that peak out near the top of the gorge form a rocky wall that never seems to end.
Once we reached Diamond Point, we were greeted by a group of adventurers who had ran a zip line between two cliffs at the overlook. We didn't actually witness them doing much zipping, but there was plenty of hanging around. ;)
My Top Tips for Hiking the Endless Wall Trail:
- This trail was a moderately easy hike with very little elevation gain since the trail pretty much starts just below the ridge of the gorge. However, it isn't for those who are faint of heights. Hiking poles are not really necessary for this trail unless you plan to hike off the main trail quite a bit.
- The Endless Wall Trail is used pretty heavily by rock climbers who could be climbing below you at any point and time. Translation: Do NOT throw anything over the cliff edges or rock faces! You could hit a climber below.
- Honestly, I wouldn't recommend bringing small children on this trail mainly because of the numerous open cliffs and steep drop-offs. There are not fences or railings at the various vistas and overlooks to prevent falls.
- The Endless Wall Trail can be accessed at different two points- from the Fern Creek Trailhead about 1 mile down Lansing Road from Route 19 and then from the Nuttall Trailhead a half mile further down. Fern Creek seems to be the most popular way to access the Endless Wall, but my son and I opted for the Nutall Trailhead. The trail is well marked, but it seemed to be less heavily trafficked. If you are willing to walk the 1/2 mile along the road between the two parking lots, you can do the entire loop of the trail.
Have you hiked the Endless Wall Trail or visited the New River Gorge area of West Virginia before?
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