Red Ash Island

Gravestones among a brown leaf covered forest surrounded by bare trees.
Cemetery in Red Ash

NPS/Kate Caplinger

Red Ash Island is a 12-acre pseudo-isle previously used by the Red Ash mining community. The Island had swimming holes, a baseball diamond, dance platform, and most notably, a cemetery.

In the mid 1890s, the island was first utilized as a pesthouse for those afflicted with smallpox. Patients who succumbed to the illness were buried on-site. Gravesites were added in the subsequent years after mining disasters and an influenza outbreak. The cemetery collected over 200 graves, many of which are unmarked or have since become overgrown and subsumed by the forest. Only a handful of tombstones remain.

From this coordinate on the trail, the hike to the island is moderate, and can be found by exiting the trail to go over the hillside towards the river bank. After approximately 200 feet there is a creek, over which the island sits as an elevated plot of land.


Exercise caution when trying to reach the island as it is subject to seasonal flooding and can be inaccessible due to water level rise. 

Park regulations prohibit the possession, collection, removal, destruction, or disturbance of bothnatural and cultural objects and structures on public land. (16 U.S.Code 470aa-470mm).

Climbing, sitting, or walking on walls and other constructed features weakens them. Please leave historic structures and artifacts as you find them, where they help tell the story of the past.

The railroad track at the end of Southside Junction is an ACTIVE line and private property; do not walk on or cross the tracks!

New River Gorge National Park & Preserve

Last updated: February 22, 2022