New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

Overview

Ironically, the New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world at 65-million years.  In the 50 miles from Bluestone Dam to Gauley Bridge it falls 750 feet in elevation, meaning it is full of Class I to V rapids that attract whitewater rafters from around the world.  On December 27, 2020, the park was changed from a National River to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

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Highlights

Bridge, scenic views, hiking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, free campgrounds

Must-Do Activity

Canyon Rim Visitor Center offers information and great views of the New River Gorge Bridge.  From there you can drive down the twisty road to the river.  Most visitors come here for whitewater rafting, so you should consider hiring a guide to take you out.

Best Trail

The Endless Wall Trail makes a 3-mile loop trail that provides great views of the New River Gorge and the bridge, as well as access to some of the park’s 1,600 rock climbing routes.

Instagram-worthy Photo

Completed in 1977, the New River Gorge Bridge is the second longest single-steel span in the world.  Highway 82 passes underneath where it rises 876 feet above the river.

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Peak Season

Summer (fall for whitewater rafting)

Hours

https://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/hours.htm

Fees

None, and even many of the NPS campgrounds are free.

Road Conditions

The dirt roads we drove were steep and windy but passable by passenger vehicles, probably not by RVs.

Camping

Gravel roads access 5 free primitive campgrounds and historic ruins like Thurmond Historic District.

Related Sites

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

Bluestone National Scenic River (West Virginia)

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia-Maryland-Virginia)

Group shot!
Overlook on the Endless Wall Trail.

Scott (in red) along the Endless Wall trail

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Ladders provide an easier way for non-rock climbers to ascend the Endless Wall.
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Rhododendron bloom
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Some whitewater on the New River.

Morning fog along the New River gorge

Tiff swimming in the New River
There are lots of rapids, except here at Stone Cliff primitive campground.

 

Explore More – Annually, what day is the bridge closed to allow BASE jumpers and rappelers to play on it?

 

This design we created to celebrate New River Gorge National Park is available on a variety of products at Cafe Press and Amazon.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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