Packed with scenic wonders and Spooky ghost towns, New River Gorge National Park is the newest national park in the United States where adventure awaits you.
|Park||New River Gorge National Park|
|Things to do||Waterfall visit, Scenic drive, and many more|
|Hotels near||Country Road Cabin, River Expeditions, and many more|
|Entry Fee||Free Entry|
|Camping Locations||Multiple Locations|
If you’re planning a visit to this Park and wondering what you can do there for a fun vacation, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’ll go through the top attractions and landmarks you shouldn’t miss on your first trip, including the best time to visit, entry fees, where to stay, and much more. Let’s get started!
About New River Gorge National Park
This Park and Preserve is America’s 63rd national park created to protect the new River Gorge, one of the oldest rivers in the entire world. The Park is famous for its stunning sunsets, spectacular vistas, and lush green countryside.
Located in Southern West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains, the park stretches for 53 miles downstream of Hinton to Hawks Nest State Park.
With an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities, New River National Park offers a rich combination of culture and natural history.
The New River Gorge is known as a top-notch rock-climbing destination that attracts people worldwide.
More than 1 million visitors come to New River National Park every year to enjoy a variety of outdoor adventures, including rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, and white-water rafting.
History Of New River Gorge National Park
New River National Park has a fascinating human history filled with coal mines, logging, mine wars, and so much in between.
West Virginia was founded during the Civil War, but the story of New River Gorge had begun long before it.
The region was first explored in the 1600s by fur traders and Native Americans who lived there for centuries.
In the 1800s, a significant change occurred in the region, when the town of Fayetteville was fought over four times during the civil war, and West Virginia became a state in 1861.
In the 1960s, a group of college kids came to the region for rafting and found Wildwater Expeditions, the first-ever rafting company in the New River Gorge. The New River Gorge Bridge was built to connect both sides in 1976.
Two years later, in 1978, National Park Service designated the New River as the New River Gorge National.
During the 80s and 90s, the Gorge became a popular rock-climbing destination.
In 2020, legislation was presented to update the park’s status to the national park, which was approved, and on December 27, 2020, the Park was established.
Best Things To Do In The Park
One of the Grand Teton’s main highlights is Canyon Rim, and many visitors begin their journey from there.
This beautiful scenic wonder offers breathtaking views of lush green forests from the overlook of the New River Bridge.
If you’re interested in history, this place is perfect for tons of historical information about the area.
To make your experience even more spectacular, visit the Canyon Rim early morning to watch a sunrise or a late sunset and witness a glimpse of heaven.
Sandstone Falls is the largest waterfall on the New River and a must-see spot for all first-timers.
Offering stunning views of inspiring landscapes surrounding the New River, Sandstone Falls epitome of beauty.
You can soak up in the iconic rushing waters of the fall or go on a rafting adventure to get your adrenaline pumped.
These magnificent falls are 1500 feet wide and serve as the best starting point for the iconic New River.
On your way to the Sandstone Falls, you get to see some beautiful waterfalls and amazing views of the fascinating ecosystem.
Glade Creek Trail
If you are more interested in a challenging outdoor adventure than sightseeing and scenic drives, then take a hike on the Glade Creek Trail.
This scenic 5.6-mile trail is moderate in difficulty, perfect for hikers of all ages and abilities.
The trail also features swimming holes of varying depths and stunning waterfalls, making it a real treat for kids and adults.
The lower section of Glade Creek is an official catch-and-release trout stream, so make sure to bring your fishing pole.
Grandview is one of the most outstanding overlooks in the park that will leave you awe-struck.
The overlook provides the perfect combination of stunning views with an added layer of beauty and peaceful adventurous trails, which genuinely sets the Park apart from other national parks.
Rhododendron Flower, the official state flower, blooms along the trail and makes it look even more heavenly.
There are plenty of hiking trails in the area if you want to stretch your legs.
Fayette Station is another beautiful destination you shouldn’t miss on your first visit.
Along with the twisting turns of the mountain route, you’ll get to see the New River Gorge Bridge from a completely different angle that will make you stop and stare for a while.
Not to mention the beauty of the journey as you head downhill through the lush green forest.
Have your camera ready, so don’t miss any scenic capture on your way.
Best Time To Visit
This Park is a perfect vacation destination all year-round. Summer is the peak rafting season that brings the biggest crowds.
If you’re interested in rock climbing, the most desirable time to visit the park would be Spring and Fall.
Winter is mild, ideal for climbers who want to avoid crowds and have the cliffs all to themselves.
If foliage is your thing, you can’t miss the beauty of the New River Gorge during Fall.
Map Of New River Gorge National Park
You can download the Park’s brochure and map in various formats online to get a better idea about how to move around in the park.
Visit the National Park Maps to download free official maps in PDF.
Where To Stay Near New River Gorge National Park?
This Park offers plenty of privately-owned resorts, campsites, and cabins, whether you want to stay for a few days or have a month-long vacation plan.
Here are some best places you can choose from:
Camping Locations At New River Gorge National Park
You can camp under the star-filled sky to experience the unparalleled beauty of the Park.
Still, camping options inside the parks are quite primitive, and most visitors prefer to stay at campgrounds and hotels near the park.
The camping areas are located near the river and have limited facilities. Camping is entirely free on the primitive campgrounds.
You can find developed campsites at state parks and private campgrounds through the park. For more information or to make reservations, visit the NPS website.
Weather Of New River Gorge National Park
The weather in the Park can be unpredictable and quickly change. The weather in the Appalachian Mountains is often cooler with high precipitation.
Summer is usually warm, with the temperature reaching 70s to low 80s. On the other hand, winter is relatively mild, and the temperature rarely drops below the 20s.
Spring brings higher water levels and might be chilly, with temperatures typically below the 60s.
Fall brings the perfect temperatures ideal for climbing and mountain biking, plus you’ll get to enjoy the lust hardwood canopy turning yellow, red, and orange. Make sure to check out the current weather for the park before visiting.
Entry Fee & Passes
This Park doesn’t charge a single penny to enter the park, and since it’s free, you don’t need to bring any other access passes to enter the park.
Checklist For New River Gorge National Park
Whether you are planning for rock-climbing or hiking the Gorge, make sure to bring the following essentials with you to the Park:
- Layers of Clothing
- Sleeping Bag
- Comfortable hiking shoes
- Rain gear
- Lots of water
- High-energy snacks
- Flashlight/ headlamp
- First-aid kit
How big is the New River Gorge
The Park covers more than 70,000 acres of land between Fayetteville and Hinton, West Virginia.
Is Swimming allowed at New River Gorge National Park?
Yes, Swimming is allowed at Canyon Falls Swimming Pool at Adventures on the Gorge.
What animals can I spot in New River Gorge National Park?
New River Gorge National Park is home to more than 65 species, including groundhog, white-tailed deer, fox squirrel, opossum, and more.