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I was pretty excited to visit West Virginia this fall. It was totally new to me and I knew nothing about it before getting there. Turns out, it’s pretty good!
We really only saw the main sights in New River Gorge but it was enough for me to want to go back and see more to check even more off my southeast bucket list. But today is all about the Glade Creek Trail.
After driving the Fayette Station Road through the main part of the park, over the Fayetteville Station Bridge, down to the river to see kayakers, we decided to head on over to Glade Creek Road to see what it was like.
I loved it! The whole road to the campground/trailhead was along the river which was really nice. I think there was maybe one other car there. It was so quiet and a little creepy.
It was late afternoon and the trees are super dense so it was a lot darker on the trail than it actually was on the road. Even if it was a little creepy, I still loved it.
The trail was quiet, a little rocky, and covered in leaves. The trail, not so shockingly, follows Glade Creek. It goes up and down a little bit but there are a few places to go down to the creek and hang out by the water.
It was a little chilly because it was fall and super shady but it was so nice. We got to this little waterfall and hung out there for a while before turning back.
I’m not sure how far this was but definitely no more than 1.5 miles. We probably spent a couple of hours out here enjoying the creek. Then when we climbed back up to the trail where we turned around I saw it.
The mushroom tree. It was a gift from the heavens for this mushroom lover. If you didn’t know, like lizards, I can’t not take a picture of a mushroom so this took up even more time.
Finally, we were on our way out. It was still fairly early but felt so late because it was so dark! I really can’t get over how dark it was with all the trees but it just added to the atmosphere.
I loved this trail and would love to do the whole thing someday but if you want a nice quiet hike along water, even just part of the Glade Creek Trail is a good option. I had no expectations of this trail but it turned out great!
National Park Pass + Other National Park Deals
- If you’re planning on visiting multiple parks (3 or more) on this trip or within the year, I would highly recommend getting a national park pass. It’s $80 but will pay for itself in about three trips to parks. It’s so worth it and I buy one every year! They’re also great for gifts for the park lovers in your life.
- To help plan the best national park trip ever, this Ultimate National Park Planning Bundle is perfect! You get two ebooks and a planner, saving 50% by getting them as a bundle! If you want all the details, this is the bundle for you. Buy the Ultimate bundle here.
- This National Park Planner (one of the ebooks from the bundle above) is perfect if you just want some guidance in your planning. Buy the planner here.
- Get yourself a little National Park notebook to write all about your adventures while you’re on the road. These from Field Notes are all very cute! If you want one for all of the NPS sites (400+!) then this one is for you!
- Before your trip, get some national park apparel for your trip! Homage is donating 5% of sales from the national park collection to the National Parks Conservation Association this year. Buy national park shirts here.
- Consider reading some of these books set in national parks before your big trip, on your adventure, or once you get home to take you back to the parks until next time.
- Planning a big national park trip? Check out these other posts: National Park bucket list, Make the most of a National Park trip, National Park camping packing list, My favorite National Park hikes, More National Park hikes I love, Underrated National Parks.
Where is the Glade Creek Trailhead?
The end of the trail we started at was by the Glade Creek Campground. We were staying in Beckley so these are the directions from Beckley to the Glade Creek Trailhead.
From Route 19, take Route 41 north toward Prince then turn right onto Glade Creek Road, just before the bridge at Prince. There is a sign here but it could be hard to miss so keep an eye out. Follow the gravel road seven miles to the Glade Creek Trailhead.
This was a pretty nice gravel road. It wasn’t super pot holey or washboardy. I don’t think you would need high-clearance or 4WD for this but would be a little more cautious after rain. You never know how these dirt and gravel roads can be.
How long is the Glade Creek Trail?
The Glade Creek Trail is about 5.6 miles round-trip. It’s an out and back trail with a few spur trail options, too. The shortest side trip from the main trail is the 0.2-mile, strenuous, Kates Falls Trail.
We didn’t do the whole thing, we started at the end of Glade Creek Road, so we were on the opposite end from the spur trails, but I loved the end we saw.
If you want to do the whole thing and see the falls I would plan threeish hours, I think. Maybe a little more or less depending on how often you stop and how fast you walk.
What to bring on the Glade Creek Trail?
Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen. I like the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch a lot AND it’s reef safe! If you’re sensitive to fragrance though, it’s not a good choice. I also like the same one but specifically for your face.
Best time to hike the Glade Creek Trail
I would say the best season for the Glade Creek Trail is fall just because then you can see the leaves changing and it won’t be as humid as summer, but there probably isn’t a bad time to go.
As for time of day, I really enjoyed going in the late afternoon but morning would probably have similar lighting. If you’re not concerned about lighting, then anytime is good.
One thing to note though, is that the trees are super dense so in the afternoon it can feel a lot darker than it really is. It gave it a creepy, magical, fairytale vibe. Kind of like the Ledges Trail in Cuyahoga, but darker.
Is the Glade Creek Trail worth it?
So much yes! I had no idea what this would be like but I loved it. It’s an easy trail, you can see cool waterfalls, it’s not busy, and there were mushrooms. It’s hard to beat that so definitely add this to your national park bucket list.
Have you been to New River Gorge National Park? What did you think of it? Did you do the Glade Creek Trail?