The Grandview Rim Trail at the New River Gorge in West Virginia includes multiple fantastic overlooks. Plus hike the Castle Rock and Tunnel Trail spur trails!
Our latest getaway in West Virginia took us to the vicinity of one of America’s newest national parks, New River Gorge.
Have you visited before? Its claim to fame is the spectacular view you can get out across the gorge.
So this time, we decided to take a hint from the promisingly named central section of the park: Grandview. It did not disappoint!
We hiked the Grandview Rim trail, along with a couple of connecting trails. Are you considering an outing to New River Gorge sometime soon? Here are some ideas about what to expect on the trail.
Is the Grandview Rim Trail Difficult?
The Grandview trail is moderately easy. It’s 1.6 miles one-way.
Most of the trail is a flat dirt path, although there is some elevation change, and when you get close to Turkey Spur Overlook the trail gets a little rockier.
If you want more of a challenge, I recommend taking the Castle Rock trail, which runs parallel to the other trail for a while. It’s more difficult and extremely rocky, but it’s also my absolutely favorite trail (so far) in the park.
If you take the Castle Rock trail, you’ll meet up with the Grandview Rim trail after about a half-mile, and continue onto it for the rest of the hike.
For an overview of the area, the New River Gorge map from National Geographic is helpful.
Starting Your Hike
The Grandview Visitors Center is a tiny building just off Route 9, and the trailhead starts nearby.
First, you’ll follow the sign to the main overlook.
In just a few hundred feet, you’re already rewarded with your first birds’ eye view, as pictured below!
For those who’ve done much hiking in Arizona, it might please you to know that this area is called the Horseshoe Bend of the East.
At 1,400 feet above the river, your view stretches on and on. A helpful sign identifies points of interest.
Next, take either the Grandview Rim trail or the Castle Rock trail towards Turkey Spur overlook.
Castle Rock Trail
We took Castle Rock Trail. It’s just a little over half a mile (one-way), but it quickly gets narrow and rocky!
Watch your step and wear sturdy boots. I like my Keen hiking boots.
You’ll start seeing the large rocky cliff walls rising up on the left, and you’ll get glimpses of great views on the right.
When you reach the long wall of rock, you’re at Castle Rock.
Keep going, and you’ll reach the North Overlook.
When you reach a trail intersection, you’ve reached the Grandview Rim Trail! Turn right to continue to more great viewpoints.
Grandview Rim Trail
This portion of the trail is easy and flat.
When you reach the intersection with the road, stay to the right.
There are lots of overlook spur trails that take off to the right. If the trees have leaves, these trails will be mostly overgrown and hard to see.
Eventually you’ll see the trail begin going more steeply downhill with some stairs, and then the trail gets rockier.
At this point, you’re close to the end of the trail.
When you reach a small parking lot, you’re at the overlook.
To see the Turkey Spur overlook views, you’ll climb lots and lots of stairs. To be precise: 150 stairs, according to the trail sign.
There are three overlook platforms.
When you’re finished admiring the views, head back along the Grandview Rim trail.
Again, if you want to keep things challenging, you can take the Castle Rock trail when you come to it, or just stick to the easier path straight ahead.
If you’re returning via the Grandview Rim trail, you’ll reach another set of three overlooks.
Keep going, and you’ll be back at the main Grandview Overlook.
From the overlook area, there’s one more spur you could hike, which is the short (half-mile) Tunnel Trail.
Head down the trail and make a sharp left onto the main section of Tunnel Trail.
This trail has three trailheads, so if you miss the left turn you’ll wind up at the trailhead by the baseball field.
This short trail goes past multiple rocky tunnels and has some stairs to climb.
This trail ends at long flight of stairs, and then you’ll be at a trail junction where you can go either left or right.
Either way, you’ll end up at a small park/baseball field, and you’ll be able to see the Grandview parking area on the other side of the park. Cut across the park to get back to your car.
What are your favorite trails at New River Gorge? Let us know in the comments below!