We have always loved New River Gorge for its 1,000-foot-high sandstone cliffs, its 70,000+ acres of forested land and its 53 miles of churning river. But this under-the-radar gem is gaining new attention outside of the Mountain State. On Dec. 27, New River Gorge became America’s 63rd national park — changing its longtime status as a national river at the urging of the congressional delegation from West Virginia, which had never been home to an official national park.
While it certainly draws adrenaline junkies such as rock climbers, kayakers and whitewater rafters, you can enjoy its scenic delights on low-key hikes or even without leaving your car. The new national park has something for everyone.
Things to Do
Take in the views. The park’s overlooks are must-see spots for soaking in natural wonders. Perched among boulders at 1,400 feet, the main overlook at the Grandview Visitor Center reveals a U-shaped view of the river and gorge. At the Canyon Rim Visitors Center, an easy boardwalk stroll leads to two observation decks for gazing at the gorge and the majestic New River Gorge Bridge, the longest steel arch span in the western hemisphere.
Adventures on the Gorge boasts many overlooks of the park that you can enjoy while eating dinner, lounging by the pool or casually hiking on one of our many trails.
Enjoy the whitewater. The New River Gorge is known for whitewater rafting, and many locals, including us, say that’s the most scenic (and wildest) way to see the park. The Upper New River includes long pools and mild rapids. The lower section, brings in more adventurous rapids ranging from Class III-IV. Kids 11 and under raft FREE everyday on the Upper New with a paying adult. Kids as young as 10 can enjoy the Lower New River on our Family Lower New trip and 12 years old can join in the fun on the Lower New. Fishing is popular in the river’s quieter areas, and anglers will find multiple public access points. Spring and fall are the best times to catch everything from bass to walleye.
Mountain Biking and Hiking
The park has 12.8 miles of easy-to-intermediate biking trails. We offer 2 hour and half day guided biking trips ranging from east to intermediate based on guests needs and requests.
There are many popular hiking trails include the 1.6-mile Long Point Trail, which provides views of the gorge and the bridge and the 2.4-mile Endless Wall Trail, known for its 1,000-foot-high views of the river below. For a more solitary experience, try the two-mile loop Big Branch Trail. You’ll find a cascading stream, waterfalls and the remnants of an old homestead site, and it’s abloom with wildflowers in early spring. Another less crowded hike is the 0.7-mile Headhouse Trail, which goes to the entrance of an old coal mine, now a protected habitat for bats.
The New River Gorge National Park and Reserve is known for amazing rock climbing. More than 1,500 climbing routes are established within or immediately surrounding the park, making it the East Coast’s best proving ground. In climbing speak, the big draws are 5.10 sport routes and 5.10 trad climbing routes, with some routes making for quicker ascents and others topping out at more than 100 feet of vertical and forming the bulk of a climber’s day in the park.
We offer guided climbing and rappelling to give you an adventure filled day you won’t soon forget.
876 feet above the raging river, spans the unmistakable New River Gorge Bridge. You may have driven over it, but it’s the hidden bridge under the bridge that you shouldn’t miss. Underneath the roadway, a steel catwalk, harness and a lanyard are all that separate you from one of the most unforgettable views of your life. The bridge rattles and shakes as cars and trucks pass overhead to round out the sensory experience.
Places to Stay
Located right on the rim of the National Park, Adventures on the Gorge offers no shortage of lodging options for you to choose from. With everything from rustic cabins to luxury vacation homes, there are options for every type of traveler, and the accommodations you choose can determine your vacation experience.