You’ll find a lot of hiking opportunities throughout the New River Gorge National River, and some of those trails are located near the scenic overlooks in Grandview Park. One short trail provides a fairly easy hike, while you’re accessing those viewpoints along the rim: the Castle Rock Trail.
Grandview Park is located near Beckley, West Virginia, off of Interstate 64. Take I-64 exit 129 and follow County Route 9 north into the park.
Note that on a map, Grandview appears to be very close to WV 41, Glade Creek Road, and the towns of Prince and Quinnimont. However, Grandview is at the top of the hill, while those roads and towns are at river-level. There is no direct connection between them (aside from the Little Laurel hiking trail).
You will find the trailhead for the Rim and Castle Rock trails near the park’s main overlook. Drive past the outdoor theater and around the loop at the end of the road, then find a parking spot just before you leave the parking area (on the east side of the parking lot).
Grandview Park’s main overlook never disappoints. From here, you’ll get a nice view of the New River as it makes a horseshoe turn through the gorge. This viewpoint looks east, so it can get shadowy late in the day.
But this was my first stop of the day. I wanted to do a little more hiking in Grandview before heading out of town (I had already made a stop at Turkey Spur a couple of nights earlier, for the sunset). I remembered hiking the Castle Rock Trail a long time ago, and thinking it was a lot of fun, so I headed in that direction.
Castle Rock Trail
The Castle Rock Trail begins along the trail to the main overlook. It parallels the Grandview Rim Trail, which will provide the return route to the trailhead.
The Castle Rock Trail stays slightly below the gorge’s rim, and runs alongside a wall of exposed rock. Sometimes you’ll be deep in the woods…
… while navigating your way over some big rocks and roots. In other spots…
… the Castle Rock Trail is wide-open, with a huge wall next to you, blue sky above, and a nice view of the gorge nearby.
It’s 6/10 of a mile to the end of the Castle Rock Trail. At that point, Castle Rock Trail joins the Grandview Rim Trail. In about a half mile, you can be back to your starting point, or you could choose to continue north on the rim trail, all the way out to Turkey Spur. But, if you did this, you’d have to backtrack all the way, or catch a ride back to the main overlook area.
Since my time was limited, I chose to return to the starting point. Along the way, there are several more excellent viewpoints of the New River Gorge. Here, you’re standing directly above the Castle Rock Trail.
All of these viewpoints are good, but the view is very similar at each one — so if your time is very limited, don’t feel bad about skipping everything but the main overlook (which is only a few hundred feet from the parking lot).
The hike back along the Grandview Rim Trail is an enjoyable, shady hike through the woods. You’ll be able to access several picnic shelter along the way, just in case you’re meeting up with a group of people.
Here’s a look at the drive out to Grandview:
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Grandview offers some of the best views of the Appalachian Mountains that you’ll find anywhere, as well as some great perspectives on the New River. Check out the view from Turkey Spur and the main overlook, if your time is limited. If you can spare an hour for a hike, a combination of Castle Rock Trail and Grandview Rim Trail is a good option.