Hawks Nest State Park, located along the rim of the New River Gorge in central West Virginia, features breathtaking overlooks, strenuous hiking trails, an aerial tramway, jet boat rides, and a lodge with spectacular views. The park also offers a museum and a rail-to-trail.Before the advent of the state park, Hawks Nest was the site of a trail used by Native Americans. Later, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway was completed through the New River Gorge below the Hawks Nest overlook, followed by the completion of the Hawks Nest Dam and Tunnel to generate hydroelectricity and prevent downstream flooding. It was not until 1935 that the state acquired land for what became Hawks Nest, and a lodge and other amenities were added in 1963.
There are over 4½ miles of trails at Hawks Nest, ranging from strenuous single track paths to paved walkways. Three of the best trails at the park include:
- The rugged 1.7-mile Cliff Side Trail starts at the Midland Trail Shelter near the lodge and ends near the Hawks Nest Overlook. It traces alongside Nutall sandstone cliffs and connects to a waterfall along Turkey Creek and views of the Hawks Nest Dam and Tunnel.
- The steep ¾-mile GSYP Trail begins at the lodge and descends through hardwoods, ferns, and rock outcroppings as it winds is way down to the New River.
- Beginning on Hawks Nest Road in Ansted, the 1.8-mile Hawks Nest Rail Trail follows the path of a former Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad branch. It passes by several waterfalls along Mill Creek and the remains of a coal mine.
|Overview Trail Map (PDF)|
|49 Hawks Nest Park Rd, Ansted, WV, 25812|