Adventure Blog

50 Years of Whitewater Rafting

50 Years of Rafting

50 years ago, Mountain River Tours began running commercial rafting trips on the New River in West Virginia. That same year, the fledgling company also became the first to run commercial rafting trips on the world-famous Gauley River. Throughout the years, Mountain River Tours has continued to be pioneers of adventure in the New River Gorge Region, a legacy that has persevered throughout the creation of Adventures on the Gorge and the establishment of the New River Gorge National Park.

On April 1, 2023, we have the honor of kicking off our 50th year of rafting on the New River. As this first trip prepares to take its
voyage down the waters of the Lower New River, we can’t help but think about how much has changed throughout the course of those 50 years. Back then, PFDs were a little different, and helmets were scarcely used. The New River Gorge Bridge wasn’t yet built, and the rafts used on the river were not self-bailing.

In the United States, Richard Nixon was president (but not for much longer). The US ended involvement in Vietnam, and Elvis’s Pressley’s
Hawaii concert became more watched than the Apollo Moon Landings. The Godfather won Best Picture at the Academy Awards and both the Sears Tower in Chicago and The World Trade Center in New York were opened. The hip-hop music genre is launched in New York City, and O.J. Simpson rushes 2,000 yards for the Buffalo Bills, becoming the first running back to do so.

While so much in the world has changed since Mountain River Tours’ first rafters embarked on their journey down the Lower New, we like to think we have just gotten better. With the founding of Adventures on the Gorge, Mountain River Tours continues its legacy of excellence, helping to elevate AOTG to its status as the premier resort in the New River Gorge.

This year, celebrate our 50th anniversary of whitewater adventure in West Virginia. Whether your idea of an adventure is a rafting trip, ziplining, or a leisurely day by the pool, we have the perfect trip for everybody. 

If you want to experience everything we have to offer, please call one of our adventure specialists.

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