Despite being home to one of the oldest rivers on the North American continent, New River Gorge is now our nation’s newest National Park. Centered between the towns of Hinton and Fayetteville, West Virginia, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve boasts more than 70,000-acres of adventure.
The New River features over 50-miles of flowing rapids, including the 13-mile “Lower New” section. The rapids on the Lower New reach as high as Class V, making it the ideal destination for both whitewater-enthusiasts and thrill-seekers, alike. The nearly 13-miles of mountain bike trails provide a fun and exciting challenge for all skill levels, and the 1,000-feet-high cliffs of the gorge offer some of the fiercest rock climbing in the world.
And for those looking for a wild and wonderful getaway, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve offers nine campsites featuring a wide variety of accommodations:
Thayer Campground, located at 631 Thayer Post Office Road in Thurmond. GPS coordinates: 37.9018, -84.0324.
Stone Cliff Campground, located on McKendree Road in Oak Hill. GPS coordinates: 37.9337, -81.0639.
Grandview Sandbar Campground, located on Glade Creek Road in Prince. GPS coordinates: 37.8568, -81.0536.
War Ridge Campground, located on SR 22/7 in Meadow Bridge. GPS coordinates: 37.8451, -80.9853.
Brooklyn Campground, located on Cunard River Access Road in Fayetteville. GPS coordinates: 37.984, -81.0282.
Glade Creek Campground, located on Glade Creek Trail in Prince. GPS coordinates: 37.8281, -81.0114.
Army Camp, located at 174 Prince Army Camp Roan in Prince. GPS coordinates: 37.8585, -81.0986.
Babcock State Park, located at 579 Clifftop Loop in Danese. GPS coordinates: 38.005, -80.949.
Eagle’s Nest Campground RV Park, located at 500 Wood Mountain Road in Glen Jean. GPS coordinates: 37.929, -81.1625.
Aside from the world-class boating, rafting, rock-climbing and camping, no trip to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is complete without a stroll across the Bridge Walk or taking advantage of some of the spectacular hiking trails.
Bridge Walk Tour – WV offers guided tours from the suspended catwalk, 25-feet below the New River Gorge Bridge.
According to bridgewalk.com. “The tours are two-three hours in length. After checking in, Bridge Walk guests are shuttled to the Canyon Rim Visitor’s Center on the north side of the bridge. A short path leads to the bridge where guests enter the catwalk in the midst of the massive iron structure.
The catwalk is 24” wide with a substantial railing. Before beginning the tour, guests are securely fastened onto a safety cable making it impossible to fall from the bridge during a tour. The Bridge Walk guests walk the entire 3,030-foot length of the bridge and then are shuttled back to the Bridge Walk headquarters. Bridge tours move along at a leisurely pace and there is plenty of time to stop for photos, and to discuss features of the bridge, New River Gorge and the National Park with your guide.”
Bridge Walk offers a wide variety of walking tours to choose from, including the standard walking tour, the “Bridge Day” walking tour and the “Full Moon” walking tour. Bridge Walk Tour – WV can be reached at 304-574-1300.
The “Endless Wall” trail provides some of the most soul-stirring and breathtaking sights the New River Gorge has to offer. The trail, which goes for just shy of three miles, runs along the north ridge of the New River Gorge. And, in case you needed any more persuasion, the reward awaiting you at the end of your hike is the spectacular view from Diamond Point. The Nuttall Sandstone cliffs, for which the trail is named, seem to stretch endlessly in both directions.
To learn more about New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, and to plan your next trip, visit www.nps.gov. And be sure to visit www.wvtourism.com to request your West Virginia Vacation Guide.