The New River Gorge is full of history, relaxation and has an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. For a history buff a stop in Thurmond is a must. Once considered one of the greatest railroad towns along the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, Thurmond recaptures the days when steel rails, steam, and coal were the major themes in our nation’s history. Take a journey back as you visit the historic Thurmond Depot, then walk down the main street of Thurmond where the movie Matewan was filmed.
For those looking for recreational opportunities Thurmond’s location in the “Heart of the New River Gorge” puts it within easy access to trails and the New River.
There are several hiking and biking trails located close to Thurmond. The Rend Trail has an easy grade and is a wide smooth trail which is one of the most popular trails in the park. It is great for hikers/bikers of all ages and levels of fitness. Hiking the entire trail involves a 6.4 mile round trip journey, though you can choose a shorter 2.5 mile round trip to the main overlook and back. Along the way you will get good views of Dunloup Creek, the New River, and Thurmond. From U.S. Rt. 19, take the Glen Jean–Thurmond exit and make an immediate left. Go 0.5 miles to Glen Jean, turn right on State Rt. 25, and follow the road 5.1 miles to the trailhead, located on the left.
The Brooklyn –Southside Junction Trail is a moderate 6 mile trail that follows along the easy grade of the route formerly utilized by the C&O Railway Southside Branch. This riverside trail is only about 100 feet above of the level of the New River. The dense canopy provided by the tall hardwood forest over the trail makes for pleasant hiking or biking during the warm summer months. The rail lines in the area near Dunloup Creek are active (as is railroad line across the river in Thurmond). Stay off the railroad tracks and away from trains! The Southside Junction Connector Trail can be reached from the Rend Trail.
The Stoncliff Trail is a rugged 3.5 mile hiking and biking trail that provides great views of the river as the trail follows an old road along the banks of the New River. The Stone Cliff trail can be accessed from the Stone Cliff area. From U.S. Rt. 19, take the Glen Jean–Thurmond exit and make an immediate left. Go 0.5 miles to Glen Jean, turn right on State Rt. 25, and follow the road 6 miles to a three-way intersection. Bear right and travel 1.5 miles, take a right just before reaching bridge across New River at Stone Cliff. Continue past boat launching area to parking area.
For those that are looking for river access there is a public put in at Stonecliff and also the Dun Glen Day Use Area. Both areas can be a perfect site to wet your line and catch a “big one”.