Raning along the gorge of the Meadow River between Fayetteville and Summersville, WV, the Meadow River Climbing area is one of the fastest growing climbing areas in West Virginia. More than 450 routes ascend its highly featured cliffs of Nuttall Sandstone, which also outcrops in the nearby New River Gorge and Summersville Lake climbing areas. Much of the Meadow River climbing area is still being explored, which is part of its allure.
The cliffs along the rim of the Meadow River Gorge vary in height from 30 to 110 feet and are characterized by well defined edges, pockets, huecos, and jugs. The majority of climbs are rated from 5.10 to 5.12, though some are as easy as 5.6, and the most difficult climb is rated 5.14. Most routes have been equipped with fixed anchor bolts, and rappel rings have been added at the tops of many.
Much of the Meadow River climbing area is located within the boundary of the Gauley River National Recreation Area, however, most of the property is still privately owned, and continued access depends on the goodwill of landowners. It is important that climbers minimize their impact by staying on trails, packing out trash, and leaving pets at home.
Meadow River Climbing Area Access
The Meadow River climbing area is divided into two regions located north and south of the Meadow River. Climbers should not expect to safely wade or swim the Meadow, a whitewater stream, between the two climbing areas.
The northern region is the most easily accessible. A gravelled parking area has been established for climbers on Underwood Lane, which is located off US-19 just north of its bridge over the Meadow River, a left turn for northbound US-19 motorists. Climbers walk Underwood Road, Shelba Lane, and an access trail along US-19 to the bridge and descend the wooded flank of the gorge. The trails forks below the bridge and to lead climbers to routes upstream and downstream. The climbing area upstream of the bridge is known as the Upper Meadow; downstream, the Lower Meadow.
The approach to the southern region is more involved and a vehicle with high clearance will be needed on the latter part of the route. From the US-19 expressway, climbers must drive US-60 east from Hico, WV, approximately seven miles to its junction with WV-41, then bear left onto WV-41 and follow the latter six miles to Nallen, WV. At Nallen, just before the highway crosses Meadow River, bear left onto Chestnut Grove Road (CR-41/1) and follow one mile to the abandoned railroad grade. Turn right onto the grade and follow approximately three miles, bearing right at its junction with another former grade at the mouth of Glade Creek, beyond which the Southside Crags will ascend on the left. Rails have been removed from both grades.
Lodging near Meadow River Climbing Area
Content sponsored by New River Climbing School