Multi-sport adventures may take extra planning, and they definitely take more time. They will also take your fitness and enjoyment of the outdoors to a whole new level. Read on for five 2-sport combinations that tap into the unique routes, runs, and trails the New River Gorge area has to offer.
Kayak & Run or Bike
Cunard to Fayette Station and Back
Kayak: 6.5 miles Class III-IV Whitewater
Run: 8 miles or Bike: 20 miles
Born from necessity, this is a classic multisport adventure perfect for kayakers who can’t find help running a Lower New shuttle. If you’re doing it for the cross training, it’s also a convenient matchup: the kayaking will work your core, shoulders and back while the run or bike will work your gluteous maximus and legs.
Prep for Option A, kayak & running, is pretty simple: pack your running clothes and shoes in a drybag and take them with you downriver. Option B, kayak & biking, will need a little more set-up. Stash your bike and dryland gear at the Fayette Station private boaters parking lot. Be sure to safely lock your bike to a tree or other structure.
Play by Play
The first leg of kayaking the Class III-IV whitewater of the Lower New River requires a bomber roll and plenty of whitewater experience. Put in at Cunard access point and head downstream 6.5 miles, through Upper and Lower Railroad rapids, the awesome Keeney’s Creek rapids, and technical Double Z. Takeout on river left, Fayette Station. From there, lock up your kayak, don your running shoes or mount your bike, and begin to head uphill as follows:
Option A: Paddle & Run
From Fayette Station, take Fayette Station Road uphill to Chicken Wire Turn, where you’ll find the trailhead for the Mary Ingles Trail. The Mary Ingles will take you to the Kaymoor Mine. From there, continue upstream on the Cunard to Kaymoor Trail, an old service road. This trail ends at Cunard.
Option B: Paddle & Bike
Because this route links so many different trails, a map is definitely recommended (grab one at New River Bikes or Marathon in Fayetteville). Bike up Fayette Station Road to the town of Fayetteville, and make your way to the Town Park. From there take the Town Park Trail to the Wolf Creek Trail. Get on the Timber Ridge Trail, cross over the Long Point Trail to Kaymoor Top, and then follow the Service Road to Cunard.
Climbing and Running
Beauty Mountain to Nuttallburg
Climb: 5.9 to 5.14 routes
Run: Up to 7 miles of dirt road, gravel paths, and singletrack
Upstream of the famed Endless Wall sits Beauty Mountain, a place known by locals for spectacular views and by climbers for a mile-long section of high quality routes: splitter cracks, superb sport routes, and boulders, sport and traditional routes of every grade. Conveniently located downhill of the climbing area are National Park Service-maintained trails that go to and around the Nuttallburg Mine, formerly operated by Henry Ford, restored by the NPS in 2011, and now one of the most complete examples of an entire mining operation in Appalachia.
Throw your running shoes in with your climbing gear.
Play by Play
The latest guidebook, New River Rock, volume 1 by Mike Williams, has rock climbs for Beauty Mountain. It is available at Water Stone Outdoors in Fayetteville.
Once your arms are toast, put on running shoes and access the trails to Nuttallburg from the Beauty Mountain main parking area. Take the Gravel Road past the Super Mario Boulder and descend into the Gorge. This road leads you to the Nuttallburg headhouse. From there, a well-marked gravel trail with informative signs weaves around the remnants of the mine and foundations of former structures. Past the old tipple, there is a trail that switchbacks to the banks of the New River.
Kayak & Mountain Bike
Thurmond to Cunard and back
Kayak: 9.5 miles Class I-III Upper New River
Mountain Bike: 9.5 miles service road and singletrack
This multisport combination offers complementary mild whitewater and scenic singletrack mountain biking on the way back. The New River section of Thurmond to Cunard has 9.5 miles of class I-III whitewater with peaceful stretches of flatwater in between where bald eagles and other birds of prey are often spotted. The abandoned town of Thurmond is across the river from the road to the put-in and worth a stop. In its heyday, it was a wild and bustling coal town and had the longest running poker game in the world. Times have changed, but the town is still there, along with the ubiquitous coal tipple—this one is beautiful in an industrial-era sort of way.
Drop your bike and biking gear at Cunard access point and securely lock them to a tree or other structure.
Play by Play
The put-in for the Upper New is a National Park Service maintained access point 1 mile upstream of Thurmond called Stonecliff. From Stonecliff beach paddle through Dimmock Shoals, Fire Creek Pool, and Surpise rapid to Cunard (river left).Take out there and secure your kayaking gear with the same lock used for your bike. For the bike ride back to your car, locate the River Access Road just upstream of the professional outfitter area at Cunard. Take this road, which follows the river on a gentle uphill gradient. The road soon turns into a wide trail (an old railroad bed) called the Southside Junction Trail, which eventually shrinks into a splendid, tree-lined singletrack all the way back to Thurmond. The final mile to Stonecliff is on paved road.
Hike or Run & Yoga
Long Point Trail
Hike or Run: 3.2 miles round trip
Yoga: as much as desired
Being outside makes you feel energized and alive and nowhere in the Gorge is that more true than at Long Point. This classic trail places you on a series of flatish rocks perfect for asanas and vinyasas with breathtaking views of the New River, the Gorge, and the Bridge. Doing yoga outside gives you a clearer, more focused mindset.
No special preparation needed. The Nuttall Sandstone shelfs at the end of Long Point Trail offer excellent friction for downward dogs and other stances. You may have to deal with some dirt and bugs, but that is what yoga is about: accepting what is and letting go.
Play by Play
From the Long Point Trail parking lot on Newton Road follow the signs to Long Point trail. The trail is easy to moderate until you reach the Point: be careful, as the trail’s climax takes you over cliff outcroppings with no rails. Find a flat spot in the center and get your yoga on. Keep your eyes peeled for hawks soaring and gliding through the Gorge. Long Point is an out and back trail: return the way you came.
SUP & Water Bouldering
SUP: Flatwater Paddling 100 yards to 5 miles
Bouldering: assorted difficulty
Stand Up Paddle boarding, SUP for short, is the most exciting watercraft sport recently invented. SUPs are giant surfboards that you stand on while using a long, single-bladed paddle to propel yourself through the water. SUP combines balance and strength while taking you on a water tour. Summersville Lake is 28,000 acres large and has 60 miles of shoreline containing spectacular rock walls, many of them with ledges and features enough to climb.
Bring your own SUP, or rent one (Summersville Lake Retreat, Ace Adventure Gear). Climbing shoes don’t work well when wet, so plan on climbing barefoot.
Play by Play
Boat access points for Summersville Lake include Battle Run Campground and Beach, Salmon Run, and the Summersville Lake Marina. We recommend starting at Salmon Run put-in. Climbable cliffs can be found to the right and to the left. Paddle up to the cliff and begin your pump fest. Down climb or drop into the lake when you are done climbing.
Editors Note: Cliff Jumping is banned at Summersville Lake. Water boulderers report that they have been tolerated when they stay down close to the water, face the rock wall, and refrain from hurling themselves off the tops of the cliffs.