The Remote Hike To Red Ash Island In West Virginia Winds Through An Old Growth Forest And An Abandoned Graveyard
West Virginia is known for a lot of things, but islands aren’t typically one of them. You may know of one or two West Virginia islands (river ones, of course). But did you know about the small coal-mining island in the New River Gorge? Red Ash Island lies abandoned in an old-growth forest near Red Ash Mine along the Southside Trail between Thurmond and Cunard — most recommend starting the Southside Trail at the Brooklyn Boat Launch near Cunard — near Fayetteville. The story of this forgotten community is a classic West Virginia tale of beauty and tragedy that all began exactly 120 years ago this week.
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Have you visited the Red Ash Mine ruins and Red Ash Island? Did you even know about this mining community and its story? For more information, visit the National Park website here or the AllTrails summary of the hike here (note that the hike to the mine and cemetery is only about 2 miles, not the full 7 for the whole Southside Trail). Also, if you’d like to visit another mine and ghost town while you’re in the area, consider hiking to Kaymoor.