In 1978, Jimmy Carter signed legislation that made the New River Gorge part of the national parks system. In 2021, that designation was changed from National River to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, making it the 63rd National Park in the United States. In 2015, USA Today readers voted a trail in the area to be the best national park hike. From the first time I read about it, hiking The Endless Wall Trail was on my bucket list and I’ve finally checked it off!
Because of the trails popularity, we decided to hike it early, before it got crowded. We’d had friends tell us that they couldn’t even get onto the rocks because of the crowd. Being just a few steps beyond normal, crowds have never been my thing so as soon as it was light enough to see the trail, we headed out. An added bonus of early hiking was our choice of parking, too.
When we arrived at Diamond Point, a lookout about mid trail, we had to wait for the fog to burn out of the gorge. Slowly, the opposite edge of the canyon emerged, followed by trees, sheer cliff walls, and finally, bits of the river sparkling in the early morning sun. We were able to watch the morning magic of swirling fog and penetrating sunbeams by ourselves. As we were readying to continue our hike, other people began to arrive. I felt rather smug, because they were going to have to share this bit of heaven. We were headed back to our car, completing the 2.4 mile hike with an extra half mile road walk back to our car.