The Endless Wall Trail is a very underrated hike located along the New River Gorge National River in West Virginia. In 2015, it was voted as the number one national park hike in the United States by USA Today. It is a relatively easy hike with creek crossings, butterflies, birds (sometimes bald eagles visit the area), and beautiful vistas of the New River from 1,000 feet above.
The trail can be completed as a 2-mile out-and-back hike or a 2.9-mile loop. The hike begins at the Fern Creek Trailhead and starts in a thick forest full of large oaks and rhododendron when in season. Shortly into the hike, there is a creek crossing at Fern Creek. This leads you slightly uphill and the trail follows the cliff edge for the rest of the duration. Along the trail, it is very possible that you will see rock climbers who flock to this area by the thousands every year. Be sure not to throw any objects off the cliff because the area below is such a popular climbing spot.
There are many scenic vistas along the trail, but the main overlook is at the scenic Diamond Point. This overlook provides you with views of the Endless Wall and the beautiful New River from 1,000 feet above. The trail is quiet and experiences few crowds, which allows you to frequently hear whitewater rafting trips on the New River. Also, if you are up early enough, Diamond Point is the perfect place to watch a sunrise.
A well-kept secret on this trail is also available to the hikers who are seeking to satisfy their adventurous side. The secret of the Endless Wall is that it has a sister trail called the Endless Underworld. The Endless Underworld utilizes the ladders that rock climbers use to travel from the top to the bottom of the cliff side.
In order to find the ladders, take the short path that is marked by the sign that reads "Climber's Access." This sign is located shortly after the creek crossing of Fern Creek. If you're uncomfortable with exposed heights, this may not be a good option because the ladders extend 70 to 100 feet. Use extreme caution on the ladders.
Once you reach the bottom of the cliff, turn left going upstream. You will walk through a tight space created by a large boulder resting on the cliff face. Once you make it through the corridor, follow the bottom of the cliff face. You will follow the cliff face for about a quarter-mile. After hiking this distance, you will come across another set of ladders that are similar to the ones you descended at the beginning. This second set of ladders will take you back up to the Endless Wall Trail.
Be warned, however, because this is a very difficult quarter-mile on the Endless Underworld. The trek contains the exposed ladders, scrambling over large rocks and boulders, poison ivy, and copperhead snakes (most likely only during the summer months).
Whether you choose to undertake the adventurous Endless Underworld Trail or not, the Endless Wall hike is a beautiful trail that is bound to take any hiker's breath away.