Want to feel as if you are paddling through a watercolor painting? Ready to ride your bike through a forest of orange and red? If so, it’s time to head to the New River Gorge.
While the region is packed with visitors all summer, as the seasons begin to turn the crowds of every-day tourists turn to a different breed of adventure lovers. The fall brings in those who have been around long enough to know the beauty of October in the Gorge. It is for those who happily brave chilly mornings to be surrounded by the vibrant fall colors of the West Virginia mountains. It’s for those who are ready to fall in love with the New River Gorge.
You can raft the New River Gorge in any season, but there is nothing quite like rafting through the canyon when the normally lush green foliage transforms to an array of bright reds, oranges, and golds. While the whitewater is as exciting as ever, you also have time to drift through calm pools and enjoy your surroundings. Plus, when your photo and video are captured at the day’s biggest rapids, you not only get to relive the whitewater but also the beautiful colors.
As fall sets in, the TreeTops Zipline Canopy Tour is set ablaze with color. You can let the flame-colored leaves nearly brush your face as you zip by, and admire the colors as you fly across the creek and above the colorful trees. To get a wide-open view overlooking West Virginia’s vibrant fall colors, head to the Gravity Ziplines course. There, you will soar (at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour) above rolling hills that spread the vibrant hues as far as the eye can see.
Fall is well known as the best season for climbing in the New River Gorge—and not just because of the fall colors. The cool, crisp air allows climbers to enjoy routes that would leave them sweatsoaked if they were attempted during the region’s humid summers. Plus, the world-renown climbing destinations are surrounded by vibrant colors, putting a colorful spin on iconic climbing photos you can’t get in any other season.
After the summer heat wanes but before the winter rains set in is the perfect time to hit the Gorge’s mountain biking trails. You can race through the single-track routes lined by trees that shroud you in colors or choose steep climbs with scenic overlooks where you can take a break from the burning muscles and enjoy the burnt orange valley below.
Sometimes simplicity is just what you are looking for, and when it comes to taking in the fall colors of the New River Gorge, it’s hard to beat a traditional hike to one of the canyon’s stunning overlooks. For views of the New River Gorge Bridge set against the vibrant backdrop of fall colors, try the Long Point Trail. Not only do you get one of the best views in the region, but the nearly 3-mile hike through the woods gives you a chance to take in the colors up close as well. Alternatively, choose the Endless Wall Trail for stunning cliff-top views overlooking the colors of the Gorge.