America’s Newest National Park, The New River Gorge in West Virginia

Bridge - New River Gorge Bridge

The New River Gorge in West Virginia is America’s newest National Park and its an outdoor lover’s fantasy come to life. In the park adventurers can experience whitewater rafting, camping, climbing, kayaking, hiking, and strolling on a high altitude bridge catwalk suspended 800 feet in the air. A photographic canvas with panoramic views of soaring mountains, scenic valleys, and sandstone cliffs enclose a gorge carved by the New River.

Riparian zone - Vegetation
Panoramic view of the New River Gorge.
Location

Located just outside the gateway town of Fayetteville, The New River National Gorge of West Virginia was added to America’s National Park lineup by Congress under a COVID-19 stimulus relief package. The 73,000-acre outdoor adventure park provides ample camping and outdoor adventure opportunities for any visitor. The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve will provide 53 miles of white water rapids, 1,500 climbing routes, 12.8 miles of mountain biking trails, and over 50 miles of hiking trails within the park boundaries.

River rapids
Rocky rapids in the New River Gorge in West Virginia.
Fayetteville, West Virginia

Fayetteville has a vibrant shopping district, fantastic restaurants, Civil War history, windows to browse with lots to buy, an in-season farmer’s market, a local art and music scene, and a lovely town park are just part of Fayetteville’s charm. Located 10.5 miles south of Fayetteville is the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, the fourth Boy Scout of American High Adventure Base and it became the new permanent home of the National Scout Jamboree beginning in 2013. 

Scout camp
Boy Scout’s Jamboree, West Virginia.
The New River

The New River Gorge National Park is an exciting addition to America’s park system. The New River is among the oldest rivers in the entire world and is estimated to be around 360 million years old. The New River Gorge National Park offers world class whitewater rafting and is usually carried out in the northern part of the park, where you can find class III and class V rapids. With the most popular whitewater rafting destination in all of West Virginia, the Gauley River, known to locals as “The Gully”. Kayaking the New River you will find calm waters towards the southern part of the river.

Rafting - Whitewater kayaking
The Gauley River whitewater rapids.
Hiking and The Bridge

There are over 53 miles of trails for hiking that range from ¼ mile to over 7 miles in length and can easily be connected to other trails to offer longer excursions. The New River Gorge National Park has over 1,500 “official” climbing routes. The New River National Gorge Bridge is the longest single-arch bridge in the western hemisphere. The guided Bridge Walk offers up a walking tour boasting panoramic views while suspending visitors 800 feet above the valley floor below. Every 3rd Saturday in October, West Virginia hosts “Bridge Day.” A one-day event where thousands of people gather to watch hundreds of daredevils’ base jump into The New River Gorge below.

Bridge Jumping
Bridge Day 3rd weekend in October. Photo: Jump Bridge Day

Rent Your Own Private Island

New River Gorge National Park - Coney Island
Photo: Airbnb
Your own private fire pit.

The cabin, is only accessible by way of watercraft and has seven private acres of private beaches and trails. The cabin lets out right onto a sandy beach and has a fire pit.

Living room - Interior Design Services
Photo: Airbnb
The Cabin on Coney Island.

There’s no shortage of activities to keep you busy. You’ll be able to rent kayaks, rafts, and boats, go sightseeing at Sandstone Falls, or go zip lining across the Bluestone River Gorge.

New River Gorge National Park - Hinton Historic District
Photo: Airbnb
3 Bedrooms sleep up to 10.

When you rent the cabin, you’re getting exclusive access to the island, which has paths that are well-manicured, but still feels like you’re out in the wild.

Canyon Rim Visitor Center

Canyon Rim Visitor Center is the primary visitor contact station for area information and for interpretation of the natural, cultural, recreational, and historic resources of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. With an estimated 300,000 visitors each year, the center provides the park with a nationally recognized facility, revealing the beauty of the National Parks of Southern West Virginia to the nation and the world. Programs and activities include; evening programs, tours of the visitor center’s boardwalk, children’s activities, films about Appalachian life, and a variety of guided walks and hikes. Canyon Rim Visitor Center is located on U.S. Route 19, just north of Fayetteville, WV. U.S. Route 19 is easily reached from Interstates I-64 and I-79, as well as U.S. Route 60.

Trail
Canyon Rim Overlook Boardwalk.
Sandstone Visitor Center

Sandstone Visitor Center opened in the fall of 2003. The 9,800 square-foot facility features sustainable green design concepts for energy efficiency and resource conservation. Water conserving native plants were selected for landscaping at the site. In recent years milkweed has been planted to encourage monarch butterflies to utilize the center. This center, located just north of the I-64 and State Route 20 interchange (Exit 139).

River Water Fall
Sandstone Falls Overlook, New River Gorge, WV.

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