About New River Gorge National Park
In the heart of Southern West Virginia, there runs a river. Her mighty whitewater has spent at least 10 million years carving its way through the Appalachian Mountains, creating a deep canyon known as the New River Gorge and supporting diverse flora and fauna for centuries. The Gorge’s 1,000-foot cliffs and walls of Nuttall sandstone, rushing rapids, misty mountaintops, and wild woods have long been considered hallowed ground for locals. Generations of West Virginia’s hikers, climbers, and rafters have considered these lands somewhat of a secret playground–until now. In 2020, our beautiful backyard finally received the recognition it deserves with its official designation as America’s 63rd national park!
The New River Gorge National Park spans over 70,000 acres, including 53 miles of the New River. Adventures on the Gorge borders the park and is perched on the rim of the Gorge, offering both picturesque views of the famous New River Gorge Bridge and close proximity to all of the park’s most popular experiences. Discover over 1,500 climbing routes. Take in the fresh air and breathtaking scenery. Hike hundreds of trails, and explore abandoned coal-mining towns along the way. Here, there is a piece of Almost Heaven for everyone.
History and Culture of the Gorge
The culture of the New River Gorge is a weave of stories from diverse peoples, all of whom have contributed to the area’s rich history. Native American tribes were the first to make the area home–most notably the Shawnee, who were driven from their lands as European pioneers made their way into the region during the 17th century. It would be another 200 years before the Civil War, when West Virginia became its own state after seceding from Virginia and the Confederacy in 1863.
The coming of the railroad and the popularity of coal, spurred by the Industrial Revolution, attracted thousands in search of work. West Virginia’s coal towns were built by European immigrants coming from the north and African Americans hailing from the south. Though many of these towns were abandoned throughout the 20th century, visitors to the New River Gorge National Park can step back in time by exploring ghost towns like Kaymoor and Thurmond. Nature is slowly reclaiming the land where these towns once stood, but the coal miners’ history lives on in our music, our food, and even our folk tales.
In the late 21st century, a new group of people emerged in the New River Gorge–those of us who were drawn to the area for our pure love of its rushing water, its lush land, and its fresh air. It was a group of adventurous college kids in the 1960’s who first looked at the New River and thought, what would it be like to raft this? They would go on to found the Gorge’s first whitewater rafting company, Wildwater Expeditions.
The 1970’s-1990’s was a golden age for the Gorge. Rafting took off, the New River Gorge Bridge was constructed, and rock climbing gained steam. It was during this period of time that the forefathers of Adventures on the Gorge first started dreaming of creating the country’s leading adventure outfitter and resort. Today, we’re happy to lead thousands of people to explore the beauty and adventure to be found in the New River Gorge National Park!