It’s that time again! A new year, and a new chance to set goals for the next season of life. New Year’s Resolutions are a great opportunity to inspire us to put some forethought into the year ahead. But, too often, these resolutions become stale, generic, or too vague to provide any motivation. We’re here to stave off that New-Year’s-Resolution doom.
Away with the non-specific commitments to “exercise more,” “eat healthier,” or “get organized.” We’re here to get you outside—and more specifically, into the New River Gorge—with 10 New River Gorge New Year’s Resolution ideas to make your 2020 your most adventurous year yet.
Hike Every Designated Trail in the New River Gorge
The New River Gorge is home to dozens of different trails, but most of us find ourselves returning to the same ones time after time while other trails go unhiked. Let this be your year to branch out. Head to the New River Gorge Canyon Rim Visitor Center and pick up a trail map to get started.
Raft the New River Dries
The New River Dries is the elusive downstream section of the New River Gorge that even many avid boaters have never had the chance to paddle. With stunning scenery and exciting whitewater, this section of the river has been largely unboatable due to a diversion dam. But as of 2019, recreational releases make it possible for more people to experience this hidden gem.
Train on the Trails and Run the New River Gorge Rim to Rim Race
With everything from steep trails down into the heart of the Gorge to long meandering paths, the New River Gorge is the perfect place to develop a running routine. And the New River Gorge Rim to Rim Race is the perfect motivation to get you running. This steep, 10K road race takes you from one side of the Gorge to the other, crossing the New River at the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge. The views, and hills, will be hard to beat.
Learn to Whitewater Kayak and Kayak the New River Gorge
Whitewater kayaking is the exciting sister sport of whitewater rafting, so if you love rafting and are looking to take the adventure to the next level, this is the year to try kayaking. But, unlike whitewater rafting, you can’t show up and kayak down the New River Gorge on your first trip out. Learning to paddle a whitewater kayak is a commitment that means hours of practice (Hello, Upper New River!) before you will be ready to take on the wild rapids of the New River Gorge. But don’t worry, it’s worth the investment. That’s why it made this list.
Embrace a New Sport
Mountain biking, rafting, rock climbing, standup paddleboarding, trail running, cross-country skiing, BASE jumping, kayaking—ok, you get it, the New River Gorge is stacked with outdoor sporting opportunities. But, despite all these options, most of us find ourselves going back to the same activities again and again without even giving the other ones a try. This year, make it your goal to try out new sports… who knows, you may even find a new favorite.
Explore the History of the Gorge
In addition to natural wonders, the New River Gorge also has a wealth of history. Discover the intriguing history of coal mining and more by visiting sites such as Nuttallburg, Thurmond, and the Kaymore Mine site. Start by heading to the New River Gorge Canyon Rim Visitor Center where you can watch a quick film, explore a museum, and pickup up books about the history of the area. Then head into the Gorge and explore these historic sites for yourself.
Hone your mountain biking, trail running, and whitewater skills—and compete in Captain Thurmond’s Challenge
Captain Thurmond’s Challenge is the ultimate New River Gorge adventure triathlon, combining challenging single-track mountain biking routes, steep trail running, and class IV whitewater paddling. You can compete on a team or take on all the action on your own—either way, signing up for this race will motivate you to push yourself and balance your regimen with a mix of sports.
Break into the next grade of rock climbing
Whether you’ve never climbed before or have been climbing for decades, there is always room to take the sport to the next level. Let this be the year to push your climbing abilities. That could mean booking a guided climbing trip or finally completing that challenging route on The Cirque. It all depends on your jumping-off point.
Experience Bridge Day
If you are a serious BASE jumper, Bridge Day—the largest BASE jumping festival in the world—is probably already on your list. But Bridge Day has a lot to offer for more than just those who are making the leap from the 876-foot-high bridge. If you haven’t been before, be sure to mark your calendar and come out on Saturday, October 17 to watch the action. You can join in the festivities on the bridge or see the jumpers from below on a Lower New River rafting trip.
Introduce someone new to the New River Gorge
As great as adventure is on your own, it’s even better when you get to share it with someone new. And the New River Gorge is too good a secret to keep to yourself anyway. Whether it is a friend, family member, or someone you haven’t met yet—commit now to bringing someone to the Gorge who has never been before. And who knows, they might just become your favorite new adventure buddy.