About This Park

Nestled in the heart of whitewater rafting country, Hawks Nest State Park is a 270-acre recreational area with a nature museum, aerial tramway, jetboat rides, hiking trails and one of the most challenging whitewater boating waterways in the nation. Its 31-room lodge offers luxurious rooms, fine dining and spacious conference and meeting facilities. Located near Ansted in Fayette County, about 10 miles north of the New River Gorge Bridge, Hawks Nest is known for its scenic overlook, which provides a bird’s eye view of the rugged New River Gorge National River below.

Hawks Nest State Park

Things to Do


859 attraction is located outside of the park.
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • 859
    Golf
  • Hiking
  • 859
    Museums & Historical Sites
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • 859
    Rafting
  • Swimming
Groups, Meetings and Weddings Rules & Regulations Download Park Pack & Map

Upcoming Events

View All Events

History

Long before Hawks Nest became a state park, the area was a nesting ground for numerous osprey and the site of a trail used by Native Americans. In the late 1800s, the portion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway running through the gorge was completed, and scattered most of the birds inhabiting Hawks Nest’s cliffs. In 1934, the Hawks Nest Dam and lake were completed. At the time, they were used to generate hydroelectricity for the growing manufacturing industry and for flood control.

In 1935, the state of West Virginia purchased much of the property that is now Hawks Nest. In 1963, the Department of Natural Resources took control of the property and built the park lodge and other facilities that now draw visitors from nearly every state, to enjoy the scenic views of the New River Gorge.

Accommodations

Lodging

Hawks Nest Lodge’s 31 rooms offer stunning panoramic views of the New River Gorge, with some offering intimate, private balconies. The lodge also provides WiFi, a seasonal outdoor pool, gift shop, and an on-site restaurant with spectacular views of the gorge below.

Event and Meeting Space

Get a change of scenery at Hawks Nest and book a spacious conference center or meeting facility. Your guests and group will never tire of the park’s views!

Dining

Enjoy breakfast with a breathtaking view of the New River Gorge from the Vista View Dining Room at Hawks Nest Lodge. The daily “express breakfast” is complimentary to overnight lodge guests and only $8.95 for visitors, served from 7AM to 10AM daily. The Vista View Dining Room is the perfect spot for your next business meeting, family celebration, or special event and can be reserved hourly or daily.  Set up fees and rentals are extra. Catering options for lunch or dinner are available with dining room reservations.

Trails

Cliffside Trail

The trail starts behind the Midland Trail Shelter near the lodge and ends near the Hawks Nest Overlook at Route 60. Sections are rugged and adjacent to steep drop-offs. This is an excellent trail for viewing the geology of the New River Gorge, high Nutall sandstone cliffs and the waterfall of Turkey Creek. Hikers also will see the Hawks Nest Dam and Tunnel areas. To return to the lodge, cross Route 60 at the lower park, take the steps behind the gift shop to the old museum, walk the service road to the end, then cross Route 60 to the lodge. Use caution when crossing the highway and near all steep embankments. Children must be accompanied by an adult and pets must be leashed.
Distance 1.7 miles (one way)
Difficulty Moderate to difficult

Fisherman’s Trail

The trail begins at the far end of the lake parking lot toward the Hawks Nest Dam and follows the lake, providing an excellent view of the dam. It ends at the Turkey Creek waterfall.
Distance 0.5 miles (one way)
Difficulty Easy

GSYP Canyon Trail

This steep, scenic trail begins at the lodge near the tennis court and descends to the New River near the aerial tram and nature center. It winds through a forest of mixed hardwoods, ferns, wildflowers and rock outcroppings. There are steps most of the way. During the tram season, you can pay half price for a one-way ticket to return to the lodge. (Note: the tram is closed every Wednesday.)
Distance 0.75 miles (one way)
Difficulty Moderate

Hawks Nest Overlook

The short, paved path starts at the parking area a quarter-mile downhill from the lodge and takes you to the overlook for a panoramic view of the New River, the Hawks Nest Tunnel area and surrounding mountains. The overlook was built from local sandstone in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and has been improved to ADA standards.
Distance 80 yards (loop)
Difficulty Easy

Hawks Nest Rail Trail

This gravel trail begins behind the nature center, follows Mill Creek and ends near Ansted. Two bridges, waterfalls and the remains of a coal mine that operated through the 1920’s can be seen along this slightly uphill trail that once was a railway for coal cars. There is no trail fee, but a ticket must be purchased when accessing the trail by aerial tram from the nature center. Bicycles are permitted. The trail is maintained by the town of Ansted and volunteers.
Distance 1.8 miles (one way)
Difficulty Easy

Lovers Leap Trail

The trail begins at the tram office behind the lodge and ends at a rock outcropping with steps most of the way. Local legend has it that Lover’s Leap was the scene of a tragic suicide between an Indian brave and a maiden who fell in love but were forbidden to marry. The overlook offers sweeping views of the New River and the marina.
Distance 100 yards (one way)
Difficulty Moderate

Park Loop Trail

The trail circles through a wooded area behind the shelter. Downed trees obscure the center section of the trail. Many wildflowers can be seen in the spring.
Distance 0.5 miles
Difficulty Easy
Download Park Pack & Map

Nearby Attractions

Adventures on the Gorge

Have a blast at Adventures on the Gorge! Located three miles from Hawks Nest, Adventures on the Gorge offers nature and wildlife tours, river rafting, tubing, boat tours, water sports, and other exciting outdoor activities.

Babcock State Park

Babcock State Park is the perfect getaway with its famous Glade Creek Grist Mill just 21 miles southeast of Hawks Nest State Park on U.S. Route 60. It has a lake for fishing and boating, hiking trails, campgrounds, cabins, and trails for hiking and biking.

Canyon Rim Visitor Center

Located four miles southeast from Hawks Nest on U.S. Route 60, this National Parks Service facility offers visitors information on the history and attractions of the New River Gorge, along with scheduled nature activities throughout the year.

Endless Wall Trail

Are you ready for a challenge? The Endless Wall Trail is a 2.4-mile moderate walk that passes through rich forest, crosses Fern Creek, then zig-zags along the cliff edge. Many vistas can be seen along the trail. Find the trailhead four miles from Hawks Nest State Park, southeast on U.S. Route 60.

Hard Rock Climbing

Be the first to enjoy the first established rock climbing guide service in the New River Gorge, specializing in rock climbing and rappelling for nearly 30 years. Each trip is catered to the client’s needs, and available for both individuals and groups. The climbing is based in Fayetteville, 12 miles from Hawks Nest State Park on U.S. Route 60 and WV Route 16 south.

Horseback Riding

Blaze a new trail and make a furry friend in the process! Two nearby stables offer horseback riding excursions through scenic backwoods trails. Horseshoe Creek Riding Stable, based in Hico, is just 8 miles from Hawks Nest State Park east on U.S. Route 60; and Equestrian Adventures in Fayetteville, is 16 miles from the park on U.S. Route 60 and WV Route 16 south.

Midland Trail

Midland Trail National Scenic Byway is the road of choice for those who prefer the scenic route. Route 60 winds 180-miles across West Virginia’s midsection, offering a drive filled with fabulous vistas, world-class rafting, outdoor fun, art and artisan treasures pioneer history. It passes right by Hawks Nest State Park and has many roadside attractions you can’t miss!

The Mystery Hole

This popular roadside attraction is two miles east of Hawks Nest on U.S. Route 60. Here, the laws of gravity seem to have gone berserk and your sense of balance is entirely upset. Come see what the mystery’s all about for yourself!

New River Gorge Bridge

At a height of nearly 900 feet, the New River Gorge Bridge is the second highest bridge east of the Mississippi. Foot traffic is only allowed on the bridge on the third Saturday in October for Bridge Day. On that day, the bridge is open to pedestrians, food and craft vendors, musicians and more. During the rest of the year, guests can take a Bridge Walk, touring the underside of the bridge via catwalk 850 feet above the New River. Bridge Walk tours are scheduled daily and tickets and reservations are required.

Summersville Lake

Plunge into the clearest water east of the Mississippi. Known as the “Little Bahamas of the East,” this exotic lake is a popular spot for boating, swimming, scuba diving, and stand-up paddle boarding. It’s also West Virginia’s largest lake, with 60 miles of shoreline.

Thurmond

During the first two decades of the 1900s, Thurmond was a classic boomtown. With the huge amounts of coal brought in from area mines, it had the largest revenue on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. Today, with a population of less than 10, the town of Thurmond remains surprisingly untouched by modern development. It is a link to the past, and a town with many stories to tell, including the impact of America’s industrial revolution. Find Thurmond 25 miles south of Hawks Nest State Park on U.S. Route 19.

TreeTops Canopy Tours

Book your world-class zip line canopy tour through the old-growth hemlock forests of the New River Gorge. This unique combination of zip lines, cable sky bridges, and stationary tree platforms are an adrenaline-charged way to view the local flora and fauna from areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Just four miles from Hawks Nest State Park southeast on U.S. Route 50.

 

 

Photos