, West Virginia
May 23, 2004
As with the Visitors’ Center at New River Bridge, don’t underestimate the power of this
actual "attraction": Grandview Visitors’ Center. Like the other three in the national
area, it is a valuable source of information on the history and geography defined by New
River Gorge. (Did you know that this "new" river is older than the Appalachian
Mountains themselves? Geologists love this gorge!) The area extends from north of
Fayetteville to Hinton in the south, and anyone with time here should plan to visit all four
Information Centers: Canyon Rim (at the bridge on Route 19), Thurmond Depot (and the
designated historic district where the railroad boomtown once existed), Grandview, and
Sandstone Centers. For an 8-stop itinerary, see New River Auto Tour. All are
supposed to close at dark--perhaps after Memorial Day, but we found them all closed at
5:00 in mid-May.
I believe there is a second lookout we didn’t visit, but the main one is an eye-popper.
Seven mountains create a stupendous panoramic view. A few feet from the main lookout
are two trailheads: Tunnels (.4 mi.) and Castle Rock (.5 mi.). To hike (or "climb" is
more accurate) Castle Rock, one must be a minimum age, and I forget what it is. Unsure
footing is the issue, so anyone with children should probably check with information.
The two short trails we walked were enchanting--I’m sure this is the domain of elfin
fairies! Interesting rock formations decorate the forest floor and make it unsuitable for
bicyclers--we left ours on the car at Grandview. Driving back to I-64 via Route 9, we
saw signs to "Share the Road" with bicyclers. This 6-mile stretch follows a ridge that
would be good for bikes, but the trails on top of the mountain may be too strewn with
rocks. The longest trail is only about 2 miles. Longer trails for bicyclers are nearby, so
check at the Visitors’ Center or here.
From journal Mountain Hoppin' with Plenty o' Stoppin'