Fayetteville is beautiful any time of year. That said, the springtime is a favorite for blooming, budding and bountiful activities.
So what do you do if you want to experience all the breathtaking beauty? We have some ideas to help you get started planning your spring adventure in Fayetteville.
Acquaint yourself with Fayetteville and stop by the Fayetteville Convention & Visitors Bureau. Gather information to start your adventures, from trail maps, shopping, outdoor recreation, scenic & historic tours, we can get you started in the right direction.
We know you are itching to explore America’s newest national park. Before you dive into the adventure take a second to prep for lunch in the National Park. Stop The Takeout and order to go, the jerk chicken bowl is amazing! If you are more of a snacker, Studio B Art Boutique Wine and Beer Gallery will be your go-to with a grab and go fridge full of a huge selection of gourmet cheeses and meats.
Explore in Americas Newest National Park
Take a three-minute drive from the town of Fayetteville across the New River Gorge Bridge to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center on Fayette Station Road. There are picnic tables overlooking the New River Gorge Bridge where you can take time to enjoy your lunch or you can venture down into the gorge for a riverside picnic at Fayette Station, bring a blanket for riverside dining. Make sure you check out the Canyon Rim Visitor Center where you can watch a film to learn about the history and construction of the New River Gorge Bridge and on how forces of nature have shaped the gorge. This will help you get better acquainted with the history and splendor of the New River Gorge, get your bearings with the center’s three-dimensional park map, and take in the unbeatable views from the overlooks.
Ranger & Nature Programs
Join a ranger or park partner for free hikes, talks, and activities. These guided activities provide an opportunity to learn about the natural world around us, experience our rich cultural history, try something new, or just explore a new part of your national parks. Check for scheduled activities. https://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/programs.htm
Junior Ranger Program
Kids can join in on the fun by asking for a Junior Ranger Book at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. Once you have your book there are a few requirements you must meet in order to complete the program and earn a Junior Ranger Badge.
Drive Under The New River Gorge Bridge
Download this audio tour from the National Park Service before embarking on a drive deep down into the gorge on Fayette Station Road. Leaving the Canyon Rim Visitor Center turn right and take another sharp right past the Canyon Rim Gift shop following the sings to Fayette Station via Route 82, Fayette Station Road. Keep an eye out for peregrine falcon sitings and stop for some magnificent viewpoints along the way. You will drive directly under the arch of the Bridge along the Nutall sandstone rock cliffs that make Fayetteville the capital of east coast climbing. Take a break at Bridge Buttress to take in the views along the rock cliffs. Fayette Station is a windy one-way road that will take you down to the bottom of the Gorge and back up the other side along breathtaking waterfalls. When you reach the bottom, by the river Fayette Station is a great place to stop and watch kayakers and rafters hit the rapids. You will see several waterfalls as you work your way up out of the gorge.
Route 82 will bring you back up to Rt. 19, take a right to head back towards Fayetteville.
Enjoy an evening bike ride at Arrowhead Bike Farm. The Arrowhead Bike farm is home to a stacked loop trail system. This rolling loop system makes it easier for beginners to give mountain biking a try without having to pedal up and down mountains. The Clovis trail is a great place for beginner riders to explore with an easy trail rating. Arrowhead Bike Farm offers bike rentals onsite along with a bike shop, and everyone enjoys visiting with their resident goats.
Take the quick trek back into town and where you can get a taste of world travel themed dishes at Wanderlust Creative Foods.
Stay a While
There are so many incredible places to stay in Fayetteville. Enjoy a relaxing retreat at a cabin under the stars, or pamper yourself at a historic bed and breakfast. Spend the evening relaxing and enjoy the accommodations at your selected retreat.
Stop and enjoy breakfast at a favorite local spot, Cathedral Café, or fuel up at Range Finder Coffee.
One of the most popular activities in the gorge is hiking. Quiet spring mornings are the perfect time to explore in the gorge and take in all the bountiful blooms. Take the path less traveled with a custom guided hike by booking a tour with Wild Wonderful Outdoor Adventures. A private hiking guide can design a hike tailored specifically for your preferences and hiking experience level. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to learn about the history and the variety of flora and fauna that can be found here.
If you are looking for self-guided hiking here are some of our springtime favorites.
Spring Blooms-Southside Junction Trail 7 miles This is an easy 7-mile riverside trail with great views of the river and an abundance of native spring blooms passing through several abandoned mining towns. Even if you just have time to take in a couple of miles you are bound to see lots of blooms. (Keep in mind, this is an out and back trail)
Easy– Burnwood Trail 1.2 This loop trail takes you through a variety of habitats through old growth forest and along an open field. You are bound to see a few spring blooms on this trail.
Moderate-Long Point Trail 1.6 miles
Spring is the perfect time to see the gorge come to life. This trail will take you to a rock outcrop where you can take in panoramic views of the gorge and New River Gorge Bridge. (keep in mind, this is an out and back trail)
Pies & Pints is a Fayetteville favorite where you can feast upon gourmet specialty pizzas and grab a brew.
Explore Around Town
Take time to stroll through our historic downtown and check out the unique boutiques and shops. We have a growing art scene in town with many talented artists calling Fayetteville home. The Love Hope Center for the Arts is an old church turned art gallery featuring rotating exhibits throughout the season showcasing many talented West Virginia artists. Stop by Lost Appalachia Trading Co. to take home a little piece of Fayetteville with a variety of Appalachian inspired items. We have three new additions to town with Out of the Ashes, Thread, and Very Rare Vintage. Fayetteville is a picker’s paradise with four antique stores within walking distance including The New River Antique Mall. If you love the outdoors Ace Gear Shop or Waterstone Outdoors can get outfitted for your next adventure. Spring is still our sleepy season downtown so check local business hours when planning your trip dates.
Time to unwind with a steak dinner or ribs at Firecreek BBQ and Steaks. Be sure to check out their weekly specials.
Wood Iron Eatery is a hidden gem serving up fresh breakfasts and lunch. They are famous for their pound cake if you can snag a slice before its gone.
West Virginia is known as the birthplace for rivers and with that comes lots of breath-taking waterfalls. Spring rains make springtime perfect for exploring waterfalls. On a busy weekend popular falls can become crowded. We tend to have fewer crowds midweek in the spring and less traffic on popular hiking trails midweek.
Take The Waterfall Loop
Travel south on Rt. 16 from Fayetteville to head towards Cathedral falls off Route 60 in Gauley Bridge. You will pass several roadside falls along Rt. 16 in route to Cathedral Falls. As you come down Gauley mountain Cathedral Falls will be located on the right side of the road past the Gauley Bridge sign at a roadside rest stop making it easy to access. You can continue a short drive down route 60 to the town of Glenn Ferris where you can see Kanawha Falls. You will be viewing the falls from a distance from the fishing access parking lot. If you want to experience the falls up close we highly recommend booking a guided Stand Up Paddle Board trip with Mountain Surf Paddle Sports. The next waterfall is 8 miles up the road. Turn right out of the parking lot at Kanawha falls onto route 60 and drive to Hawks Nest State Park. Drive past the main park lodge into the town of Ansted. Take a left on Page street for .25 miles, turn right on Rich Creek Rd going through and underpass to the parking area for the rail trail access. The Hawks Nest Rail Trail sets at the bottom of Hawks nest state park. Travel across the old railroad trestle with waterfall views down below crossing Mill Creek. This 2 mile out and back trail follows along Mill Creek with mutliple waterfalls ending at the Hawks Nest Lake. After leaving Hawks Nest State Park you will travel 7 miles towards Hico where you can take Rt. 19 back towards Fayetteville.
Travel about 20 minutes south on Rt. 19 to the Glenn Jean exit from Fayetteville. Glenn Jean is home to the National Park Headquarters. Travel Route 25 along Dunlop Creek towards Thurmond. You can stop at 4.2 miles out route 25 to view Dunlop falls on the right side of the road. Continue for about .6 miles to the Rend Trailhead. The Rend Trail is a popular spring hike for wildflower enthusiasts. The Rend Trail Bridge is closed 1.97 miles from the trailhead on the Thurmond side. When you finish your hike get back on the road for another 1.3 miles to Thurmond. Thurmond was once a thriving boomtown that has been left mostly untouched. This ghost town is an awesome place to step back in time. Stop by the Historic Thurmond Train Depot and take a stroll down Main Street. The Southside Trail and Stone Cliff Trails are also popular trails for viewing wildflowers.
Grab A Brew
Fayetteville is home to two breweries, The Freefolk Brewery and Bridge Brew Works. Both serve up unique small-batch beers and both have food trucks set up for outdoor dining for your snacking pleasure on the weekends. If you are a big art fan, you could easily spend the evening hanging at The Freefolk Brewery. Plan ahead and book a brewing experience. Stop by the tasting room of Bridge Brew Works and try a flight of their latest brews or grab a pint of one of their classics. Fayetteville is also home to the Southside Junction Tap House where you can sample flavors from our local breweries in one spot in the heart of town and it’s a perfect spot to grab a snack and satisfy your cravings.
Spend the evening enjoying Fayetteville’s newest restaurant, Don Rizo. This modern Mexican restaurant serves up mouthwatering dishes with an emphasis on flavor and freshness.
Fayetteville comes to life in the spring with lots of fun events popping up throughout the season including Vintage in the Ville, The Great Gorge Gear and YardSale, The National Park’s Spring Fling, Ramp Festival and more!