The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve offers countless opportunities for adventures, and one of the most accessible and highly rewarding is a hike on the Long Point Trail near Fayetteville in southern West Virginia.
At three miles out and back, the trail explores a deciduous upland forest and arrives at a legendary rock outcrop that offers views of the cliff-lined rim of the New River Gorge and the world-famous New River Gorge Bridge.
According to Dave Bieri, the national park's district supervisor of interpretation, the hike is relatively easy because of its short distance and minimal elevation gain. There are few uphill battles, he says.
With mountain biking becoming increasingly popular, the trail can be biked until the last 0.2 miles, after which cyclists may walk the remainder of the trail to the overlook.
Bieri said that visitors who are planning to hike the trail should be careful to avoid copperheads, snakes that like to warm up on the rocky ledges near the point. Their brown bodies easily blend into the brown rocks.
“Just give them space,” Bieri said. "We’ve never had an issue with people getting bit up there."
While copperheads are venomous, their venom is considered mild and rarely fatal to humans. Bieri noted that people who do get bitten in that area have veered off the trail and into the forest, where they stumble upon the snakes.
Bieri said that with the recent designation of the park as a national park, visitor traffic has increased, leading to more wear and tear on the trails.
He noted that if the parking lot is full, visitors shouldn't park on the street as their vehicle may be towed.
“We try to teach people to leave no trace, and don’t veer off the trail cause it damages the area and could result in people getting injured,” he said.
Those interested in hiking the Long Point Trail can get there from US-19 by following WV-16 south through Fayetteville. After going through the town, turn left on Gatewood Drive.
The turn is hard to miss as signs indicate Kaymoor and Cunard. After driving on Gatewood Road for 1.9 miles, turn left on Newton Road, and the trailhead parking is 50 yards ahead on the left.
For additional information, visit the National Park Service page for the Long Point Trail.
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