Nestled deep within the New River Gorge near Fayetteville are the ruins of the former bustling mining town of Kaymoor. Built by the Low Moor Iron Company in 1899, Kaymoor operated until 1962 and once employed over 1,500 men. Once it closed its doors, the property was left to deteriorate until the National Park Service acquired the property. Many of the structures are still in a deteriorated state however the NPS does keep up with regular maintenance and tries its best to keep the foliage from swallowing the structures.
Since the main Kaymoor site sits at the base of the gorge, the only real way to get there is DOWN. Down 823 steps to be exact. However, if you are not up to the trip to the base of Kaymoor where most of the structures and coke ovens are, then you can always venture halfway down the side of the gorge to Kaymoor Top. At Kaymoor Top, you will find the sealed mine opening, abandoned buildings, and the old posts to the rail car system that used to take miners down the mountain. At Kaymoor Top, you will also find the stairs that will take you down to Kaymoor Bottom.
Kaymoor Top is accessible two ways: from the Kaymoor Trail/Wolf Creek Trailhead off of CR-82/Fayette Station Road and from the Kaymoor Miner’s Trail at the tip top of the gorge. The Kaymoor Trail from CR-82 is two miles with a moderate incline; it’s a fairly long but leisurely trek. The second way to access Kaymoor Top is from the Kaymoor Miner’s Trail off Gatewood Road, just outside of Fayetteville. The Miners Trail is only 1/2 mile however it is extremely steep and has rocky switchbacks down the mountain. I do not recommend the Miner’s Trail unless you are in excellent physical shape, have proper hiking shoes on, and bring with you a good amount of water (a hiking stick may be useful also). It’s the quicker route but it’s one of the steeper trails in the gorge so please use caution if you attempt.
Until next time,
Sara (WV Travel Queen)