New River Gorge Bushwhacking

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Waking up to the remnants of the previous nights rain, complete with dense fog and temperatures in the low forties, kayaking didn’t sound like a particularly appealing option. So, after some perusing of the internet, Mike Maloney and myself settled upon a plan of exploring the New River Gorge. I had read an article on some hidden waterfalls in the gorge, and Butcher’s Branch looked like an ideal short hike.

A short half mile hike brought us to the stream, but there were no particularly interesting angles from the trail, so I began bushwhacking my way down the river right shore looking for a unique view.

About 200yds below the trail, a cascade revealed a few interesting shots, though getting to them was questionable. Little did I know that would be the calm part of the day. We continued furhter downstream, fighting through rhododendron and slick rocks, looking for new cascades. After about 1/3 mile of bushwhacking, we arrived at a bit of a clearing. Below, we could see a bridge, but getting to it was not as simple as it seemed.

Clinging to rhodo vines, I slowly slid and crawled my way down the hillside, losing probably fifty vertical feet in a fairly short time. Mike opted for the simpler route around the falls and met me at the base. Some more bushwhacking led us to the edge of the cliff where the going got easier. We arrived about a 1/2 mile below where we started our off-trail excursion, now on the Kaymoor Trail. A steep climb back to the parking lot completed our loop.

We took a quick side trip to Babcock State Park to catch the fall colors before heading back to camp to shower and get some dinner.

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