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Closure Notice: The National Park Service has closed this trail from the Wolf Creek Trailhead to the junction with the Kaymoor Miners Trail, as of September 2021. The trail is estimated to remain closed for at least a year; check with NPS for the latest updates before planning your trail outing.
The Kaymoor Trail runs parallel to the New River between Fayetteville and Cunard in the National Park Service’s New River Gorge National River. Much of the stunning trail follows old roads and dormant rail beds, although the southern half is significantly more challenging to cyclists and hikers. The adjacent area is popular with rock climbers and whitewater rafters—don’t be surprised if you hear gleeful screams as visitors enjoy the 70,000-acre park.
The highlight of the trail is undoubtedly the abandoned Kaymoor Mine. The site was in operation for almost 60 years, but has been abandoned since 1963. Several old coal mine structures and mine openings are found here, as well as informative exhibits on the history of the area.
From the mine site, the steep and dramatic Kaymoor Miners Trail descends via 821 steps and switchbacks to additional remains of the mine, including the coke ovens, coal processing plant and Kaymoor town site. Thousands of miners have done a similar descent over the years. Take the short but challenging trail north instead to reach an active rail line and the New River.
To reach the northern Wolf Creek Trailhead from US 19, head south on Lansing Edmond Road/County Route 5 (just north of the Canyon Rim Visitor Center). Then turn right onto Fayette Station Road/CR 82 and quickly fork to the left. Follow the road to the bottom of the gorge. You will have to make a hairpin turn to reverse direction at one point. Shortly after passing under US 19 for the second time, cross the New River on the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge and continue for 1.2 miles to the small parking area on the left. Parking is not permitted on the road.
To reach the southern Cunard Road Trailhead from US 19, take State Route 16 south through Fayetteville. Turn left onto Gatewood Road, and follow it for 4.6 miles. At Cunard Road, turn left. Travel 1.8 miles and again turn left at the signs for Cunard River Access Road. Parking for the Kaymoor Trail is available 0.5 mile further on the right. The trail begins on the other side of the road.
The National Park Rangers told me in Aug 2021 that it is closed until further notice, at least a year. An old mine was not closed properly and filled with water and a landside was swept over the trail. There did not seem to be a parking lot from the north end, Wolf Creek end by the New River Gorge Bridge. No more than a gravel area for a few cars at the most. If there was no room to park your car you would have to exit on a one way loop road that would take 45 minutes to get back on the highway. They are working on it so maybe next year?
For biking I prefer beginning from the south end. The initial portion on this end follows an old surface mine access road and mine bench. Most of the trail appears to be an old connecting road between the old surface mine and the Kaymor deep mine. The degree of difficulty varies along the trail. The scenery can be spectacular. On one trip in the spring we discovered a cherry tree with delicious, ripe cherries. On an autumn trip on Bridge Day, I found a pear tree bearing fruit. The size of both trees lead me to believe they resulted from miners discarding cherry pits and pear cores from their lunches. We always go at least as far as the Kaymor mine and back. Your chances of finding the fresh fruit are slim, but the ride and the history are well worth it.
Loved it. Just a short distance from the start, there's a neat waterfall. If you cycle this, I recommend a mountain bike, although a Hybrid should be OK. It's definitely steep for a rails to trails type trail. Because it's essentially carved into the side of the gorge,there's really steep hillside on one side & some areas of precipitous drop on the other. There are some great views in areas of the New River, & the old mining buildings & equipment along the trail add interest. My report card grade for Kaymoor Trail is undeniably an "A".
This trail was alot of fun. I just hiked it on July 5th 2010. Your basicly going down the entire mountain. The first part of the wooded trail is rocky but well cleared. Once you get down to the Kaymoor Mines.. It has signs to read the history and the openings of the mines gated off,but still very cool to see. And if you stand infront of the 2nd mine it feels like you just walked into a air conditioned room, it very refreshing. But watch out for snakes.. There are signs to warn you about them, and we did see a big black snake over by one of the mines.
Then if your brave go down down the 2,000 plus stairs to where the coal rail cars were kept by the(still active) rail road tracks. We went further because we could hear the rapids from the river and wanted to see if there were any rafters out. We crossed over the rail road tracks, scaled down a half beatin path, more like we rock climbed down to the river side. And there were many rafter having a great time hitting the rapids on the "lower new river"... It was very relaxing sitting in the rock on the river side waving at the rafters that came by.
Now going back up is a totaly different story. I really enjoy hiking, but the hike back up really tested my ability and patience. I had to stop several times to catch my breath and rest. It could have been we ran out of water and were not hydrated and the sun burn on our legs from the rafting trip the day before was starting to take a toll on our muscles, but it was very hard. And I had to used all my strength and will power to get back up those stairs and up the rest of the mountain.
After it was all said and done, it was an awesome experience, beautiful scenary, great history, and an awesome workout!!!
Highly recomended!! Take lots of water and be ready to sweat!! :-)
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