The country roads will take one to the place their vacation belongs in West Virginia. Here one will find America's newest national park, the stunning New River Gorge National Park, and Preserve deep in the Appalachian Mountains. It stretches for some 53 miles along the river just downstream of Hinton. This national park is dominated by the ancient river and its massive canyons.

There are a number of really awe-inspiring locations to explore while in West Virginia. If the budget permits stay at the massive, historic, presidential favorite resort of the Greenbrier.


About The New River Gorge National Park And Preserve

The national park is one of the most beautiful regions of the Appalachians and is famous for being one of the best places in the United States for whitewater rafting. The New River is rather confusingly named as it is considered to be one of the oldest rivers in the Americas.

  • Established: In 1978 (As A National River), In December 2020 (As A National Park - The 63rd National Park)
  • Size: Over 70,000 Acres of Land
  • Where: Between Hinton And Fayetteville

Come and enjoy this stunning landscape filled with rich cultural and natural history. See its stunning scenic beauty as the New River cuts its way through deep canyons. Besides whitewater rafting, some of the favorite activities include rock climbing, hiking, camping, and kayaking down it.

The National Park Service offers various guided history walks and nature programs. Come on "Bridge Day" in October and participate in the annual BASE jumping off the imposing New River Gorge Bridge. This is the only national park where this daredevil sport is actually legal.

  • Mountain Biking: 21 Miles Of Mountain Biking Trails

Climbing In The Park

It is famous for its very hard sandstone cliffs (reaching up to 1,200 feet). Most of the routes are for the advanced to the expert climber. The majority of the routes are 5.9 or harder - most fall into the 5.10 - 5.12 range. A guidebook is an essential tool for locating the climbs and all the relevant information can be found at the local climbing shops.

  • Height: Range From 30 to 120 Feet in Height
  • Climbing Season: Year-Round - Most Popular Starting Late April to Mid-June ending mid-September to Late October
  • Routes: There Are 1,400 Climbing Routes

Related: What It's Like To Climb Mount Thor, The World's Steepest Vertical Face

Some of the guiding tours are customizable with the tour being tailored for beginners through to the experienced. A range of tours is offered from half-day tours to multiday tours. Here is an example of a one-day private guiding tour offered by Blue Ridge Mountain Guides:

Full-Day Guided Climbing Tour

  • Duration: Full Day (8 Hours)
  • Difficulty: Beginner to Expert or Anything in Between)
  • Activity Options: Climbing, Rappelling, Refreshing Skills (Let the Guide Know What's Wanted)
  • Group Size: 1 to 7 Or More Guests
  • If One Person: $300.00
  • 2-3 People: $200.00
  • 4-6 People: $170.00

White Water Rafting

The New River is famous as one of the best rivers to enjoy the adrenaline-rushing whitewater rafting adventure sport. Within the park, there are two very different characters of the river. In the upper (or southern) part the river is mostly characterized by long pools and fairly easy rapids up to Class III. In the lower (or northern section), it is characterized by its colossal rapids. These range in difficulty from Class III to Class V - this section is called the "Lower Gorge".

Another of the most adventurous places to go whitewater rafting is on the source of the Nile in Uganda - but it's not for the faint-hearted!

There are a number of access points dotted along the river. One can enjoy a trip for several hours or several days.

  • When To Raft: Year-Round But The Main Season Is April Through October

It is possible to bring one's own raft or kayak and run the river by oneself, or there are several professional guided tours on the New River. One can likewise choose guided tours ranging from several hours to several days.

Related: White Water Rafting: The Best Places In The US For Beginners

Here are a couple of examples of whitewater rafting trips:

Full-Day Lower New River Gorge Whitewater Rafting

  • Duration: 6-7 Hours
  • Minimum Age: 12 Years (Allowances Possible For Kids 10-11 Years Old)
  • Meals Included: Lunch
  • Distance: 8-13 Miles
  • Season: May-October
  • Cost: Starting From $99.00

New River Gorge Rafting Riverside Overnight Package

  • Duration: 2 Days
  • Minimum Age: 12 Years Old
  • Meals Included: All Meals
  • Rating: Classes I-IV
  • Season: May to October
  • Cost: Starting From $279.00

 These are just a couple of the rafting options and there are many many more. For more information for the tours above see Ace Adventure Resort.

There are plenty of other things to see and do here including primitive camping sites and much more. If visiting the Appalachians check out America's newest addition to its most protected pieces of paradise.

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