Situated in the heart of West Virginia's pristine New River Gorge National River, the Glade Creek Trail (out-and-back only) has something for everyone. Once a narrow gauge railroad corridor used to haul coal from remote mines within New River Gorge, Glade Creek Trail is now a popular destination for hiking. You can also swim, fish, camp and kayak.
Start your trip at the trailhead located near the confluence of Glade Creek and the New River. Here you will find several well-maintained campsites, picnic tables and restrooms. The trailhead is also home to a popular swimming hole that is a great place to cool off after a hot summer hike. Once on the trail, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and picturesque waterfalls provided by Glade Creek, as it rushes past on its way to the New River. Be sure to bring your fishing pole; the lower section of Glade Creek is an official catch-and-release trout stream. As you follow the meandering trail along the banks of the creek, keep an eye out for native wildlife and the occasional adventurous kayaker attempting to navigate the creek's swift rapids.
The Glade Creek Trail has a moderate grade, but the first half can be difficult to hike because the path is slightly narrow and strewn with large rocks and tree branches. Once you cross the trail's lone bridge, found around the 3-mile mark, the trail becomes wider and better maintained. If you're looking for a challenge, hit the more strenuous Kates Falls Trail located about 1 mile before the end of Glade Creek Trail.
Parking and Trail Access
From Beckley, follow US 19 north toward Oak Hill then drive north on State Route 41 toward Prince. Turn right onto Glade Creek Road, just before the bridge in Prince. Follow the gravel road for 7 miles to the Glade Creek Trailhead.