The New River Gorge in West Virginia is beautiful and full of great viewpoints, but some of the best are along the Beauty Mountain Trail. This short but fun out and back hike has a new outlook every few hundred years that are great for watching the sunset.

The Beauty Mountain Trail Head is located less than 10 miles form Fayetteville, WV.  To reach the trail head, you will have to travel down some very narrow roads, and I recommend going old school and printing out the directions because cell service in the area is not the best.  Once at the trail head, park along the side of the road; there is no formal parking area.  There is also no sign marking the trail, but if you are looking for the trail, it is very easy to find.  The trail starts at the corner of Buckhorn Rd and Beauty Mountain Rd underneath some power lines.  

Once on the trail, you will quickly come to your first overlook.  This is a great spot, but there are better overlooks further down the trail.  There are no formal trail markers, and the trail splits a fews times, but I found the side trails always rejoin the main.  The easiest trail to follow and the trail with the best views is the main trail, which winds along near the cliff’s edge.  The Beauty Mountain Trail is mostly flat because it follows a ridge line and is about 3/4 of a mile to the Rams Head overlook, which offers a 180 degree view of the New River Gorge.  

Most of the outlooks before the Rams Head look West, which makes it ideal for photographing sunsets.  There is a bend in the river which could be used for a leading line.  The Rams Head is also a well-known climbing location, and if you are lucky, you will be able to capture some climbers scaling the cliff face.  If you are photographing at sunset remember to bring a flashlight for the return to your vehicle.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Snack
  • Water
  • Flashlight 
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RT Distance 1.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 0 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers

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