Although there are over 3,000 climbing routes and hundreds of miles bike trails scattered throughout the river gorges and forests of the greater New River Gorge region, many zones are a decent drive from Fayetteville and only offer one activity once you’ve parked your rig. But one hotspot offers some of the area’s best climbing, biking, and even hiking, just minutes from town. Enter Kaymoorhttps://www.nps.gov/neri/learn/historyculture/kaymoor.htm, a historic coal mining town-turned-outdoor recreation paradise.
Located just one mile off Gatewood Road and about three miles from downtown Fayetteville, the Kaymoor Top trailhead is your access point for the satisfyingly snaky singletrack of the Arrowhead Trails, some of the gorge’s finest roped routes at the Butcher Branch crag, and the soul-crushing steps of the Kaymoor Miners Trail.
Choose Your Adventure
While a full day of mountain biking or rock climbing is each fulfilling in their own unique ways, getting to do both in a single day is even better. The adrenaline-fueled movement and speed of mountain biking is perfectly balanced out by the slow and controlled, zen-like movement of rock climbing. Kaymoor proudly boasts enough world-class rides and routes to get your fill in whichever order you prefer.
Once you’ve reached the T-intersection at Kaymoor Top, it’s time to choose your adventure. Head right and go a quarter-mile to reach the parking for the Arrowhead Hike & Bike Trail system, or head left for a hundred yards to reach the Butcher Branch parking area.
Kick off your multisport day with a morning bike romp on the Arrowhead Trails. Over 14 miles of flowy singletrack stacked in concentric loops of increasing difficulty offer a range of rides to get your legs and lungs warmed up. These trails were the product of one of the largest youth service projects in National Park Service history—over 1,000 Boy Scouts completed over 30,000 hours of service to construct the trails to the standards of the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA).
The beginner-friendly, mile-long Clovis loop can be knocked out in a handful of minutes, and the 2.9-mile Adena loop offers the ideal morning lap. For those who prefer to bite off a bit more, the 6.4-mile Dalton loop will bring smiles with technical moves through tight trees. The best moves and most technical terrain are on the LeCroy trail, which is a 1.8-mile out-and-back that starts just off of Gatewood Road and connects to Dalton.
A classic full-day challenge is to start on Clovis, catch Adena to Dalton, and take LeCroy to the Arrowhead Bike Farm just off Gatewood Road. After lunch and a pint at the Arrowhead Bike Farm, reverse your route and book it back in time for afternoon routes at Butchers Branch.
After you’ve crushed your quads and scarfed some lunch, swap the bike for the backpack and schlep your climbing gear down to Butcher Branch. Offering a solid concentration of sport routes from the 5.9 classic Flight of the Gumby to the 5.12a pumpfest Lost Souls, Butchers has enough routes to transfer the beatdown to your forearms and round out your multisport day. The routes here are north-facing, relatively shaded, and tucked in the forested ravine of Butcher Branch, creating a cool atmosphere that’s great for climbing during the dog days of summer.
Warm up on Greenpeace and Low Voltage, two classic 5.10b sport routes that get the forearm pump burning. Take advantage of the new belay platforms that were constructed during this year’s (Not) Work Week, an annual volunteer trail work and stewardship project organized by the New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC).
If the routes at Butchers aren’t enough, walk downriver a few minutes and fire off the stellar lineup of moderate and hard climbs at the Seven-Eleven Wall. Scenic Adult (5.11c), Slash and Burn (5.12d), and Fuel Injector (5.13b) will challenge the hardest sport climbers. If you want to plug some gear, lug the trad rack all the way for the mega-classic Fairtracer (5.10d), widely considered one of the best traditional routes of the grade in the gorge.
Go on Foot
If you didn’t bring your bike but still want to get your multisport on, fear not. The Arrowhead Trails are foot-traffic friendly, and it’s not unusual to see a few runners sharing the stellar singletrack with cyclists. Another classic two-a-day workout includes climbing at Butchers and starting or ending with the relentless steps on the Kaymoor Miners Trail—821 of them to be exact.
Regardless of the order in which you prefer to tick off your activities, Kaymoor Top has it all in one convenient location. Take a ride out to the rim of the New River Gorge and find out for yourself why Kaymoor is Fayetteville’s multisport paradise.
Dylan Jones is managing editor of Highland Outdoors. Find him this summer up at Kaymoor—he’ll be the guy with a beard in a flannel shirt.