The Spooky West Virginia Hike That Will Lead You Somewhere Deserted
As the nation’s newest national park, the New River Gorge is full of unparalleled natural beauty. But do you know what else it’s full of? Ruins. Old towns, old cemeteries, old mines, old equipment, old bridges, old train tracks – you name it, the New River Gorge probably has an abandoned remnant of it somewhere, half buried under leaves and dirt.
There are plenty of high-traffic trails in the New River Gorge leading to popular destinations like Long Point or the Endless Wall or the New River Gorge Bridge Overlook. But here's one close to all those places that's only lightly trafficked, yet it leads to an incredible abandoned ruin: Headhouse Trail.
As the name implies, the trail leads to an old mining headhouse - Nuttall Coal Mine Headhouse, to be exact.
And while the .7-mile hike to the Nuttall Coal Mine is a beautiful one, it's also a bit eerie. Abandoned equipment lines the trail, as well as a variety of old structures and buildings.
The trail itself is in good condition, a graveled administrative road.
The headhouse itself stands obviously vacant, with broken windows, peeling paint, and dusty floors.
Nearby, the entrance to Nuttall Mine has been securely gated to prevent entrance.
By the way, you can extend the hike if desired by continuing onto the Conveyer Trail, located near the the mine entrance, to get some views of the old conveyer that connected the mine to Nuttallburg.
Everywhere you look, you'll find a plethora of evidence that this once thriving coal mining industry, and the highs and lows associated with it, has slowly died away.
Still, this headhouse ruin is a fun spot to explore, and the National Park Service has done an excellent job of providing helpful signage so you can learn as you go.
To access the trail, take Lansing-Edmond Road (CO 5/82) just north of Canyon Rim Visitor Center for 2.5 miles, then turn right onto Beauty Mountain Road (CO 85/5). In 0.1 mile, turn right just after Nuttall Cemetery Road. You'll find a small parking area, and the Headhouse trail begins at the gate.
To learn more, visit the National Park Service’s
website. And while you’re in the area, make sure to head just up the road to check out some of that unparalleled natural beauty the New River Gorge is known for, too!
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Headhouse Trail, New Haven, WV, USA