4 falls you should take off the WV mountains
West Virginia is the Mountain State, and we’ve got more than enough great cliffs, crags and rocks for you to fall off… with ropes and safety equipment, of course.
Get one of WV’s expert guides to take you rappelling! Here are the best places to “fall off a cliff” in West Virginia:
1. Seneca Rocks
Anyone who has road-tripped much around forests and hills of West Virginia is familiar with the iconic “rooster-comb” silhouette of Seneca Rocks in the eastern part of the state. These craggy fins and spires jutting from the top of North Fork Mountain just beg to be climbed and rappelled, and the experts at Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides will be happy to “show you the ropes.”
Rappelling here is not as simple as just walking up to a cliff and lowering down. Most of the rappels at Seneca involve some sort of technical rock climbing.
But the good news is that the Mountain Guides will have all of the equipment and instruction you need to get to the top and back down again. Tell them that your main objective is rappelling, and they’ll take you on the easiest route to the top.
2. Endless Wall at the New River Gorge
Unlike Seneca Rocks, most of the cliffs at the New River Gorge are accessible from the top. You can literally just walk to the edge of many sheer, 100-foot cliffs and rappel off!
The fine folks at New River Mountain Guides can assess your ability and lead you to the best spots for your skills, but if you’re experienced, here are a few rappels you may want to check out:
- The Fantasy rappel off the scenic Endless Wall trail features an easy step-down over the cliff before you drop beneath a HUGE overhung roof.
- The Junkyard Cave rappel involves lowering into a narrow cave of rock walls. Not for the claustrophobic!
- The Pinnacle gives you an easy but incredibly scenic climb to the top of a natural tower before you rappel down one of the smoothest marble-like walls you’ve ever seen, with prime views of the New River Bridge in the background.
3. Nelson Rocks
Just a 20-minute drive down the road from its “sister crag” Seneca Rocks, Nelson Rocks is a privately-owned, fully guided and outfitted adventure preserve.
They’ll provide the gear and the expertise for any type of vertical adventure– in tree canopies, on rock faces, or even on a system of ladders and cables called a via ferrata. The via ferrata might be the easiest way to get some vertical exposure without rock climbing instruction– you simply climb ladders, clipped in by a set of carabiners.
No matter how you get to the top of the craggy peaks at Nelson Rocks, there are amazing headwalls for rappelling back down.
4. Take it to the Bridge!
Okay, the New River Gorge Bridge is most definitely not a rock face, but rappelling does not always have to be off of cliffs.
Once a year in October at Bridge Day, when the New River Bridge is closed to traffic to make way for BASE jumpers and festival fun, experienced teams of rappellers can take a HUGE free-hanging descent off of the flanks of the bridge. If you’ve already rappelled everything else on this list and have the know-how, this may be the next-level thrill you’ve been looking for.
Not an experienced rappeller? You can still experience the excitement of a drop on a 700-foot highline from the bridge to the bottom of the gorge.
Would you dangle off of the side of one of West Virginia’s sheer cliffs?
This post was last updated on July 21, 2020