Discover the New River Gorge on Your Greatest Road Trip Yet
Close your eyes and imagine a place with thousands of acres of lush green forests, rushing waters and cascading waterfalls. Sound too good to be true? Believe it or not, such a place exists on earth, and it’s inside the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve. Teeming with ethereal beauty and endless opportunities for adventure, the New River Gorge is the perfect destination for your next summer road trip. Mark America’s newest national park on your map, pack up the car and hit the road, for Almost Heaven awaits you.
Here’s your guide on how to have the adventure of a lifetime.
Explore the Great Outdoors
When you arrive in the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, start your day the right way by immersing yourself in its expansive beauty. We recommend taking a hands-on approach by pursuing these adventurous activities.
Oak Hill, WV
While in the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, you must try whitewater rafting on the mighty New River. ACE Adventure Resort offers a range of guided rafting trips for families with children of all ages. The upper New River has more mild rapids and is best for younger kiddos or leisure explorers. The lower New River is a little more challenging and better suited for adventurers twelve years of age or older.
Bonus: Kids ages 6-11 can raft for free with a paying adult at ACE.
Hiking & Waterfall Chasing
While you’re trekking about the park’s 70,000+ acres, you’ll find yourself stopping several times on the way. With such surreal natural beauty, don’t forget to stop to take it all in. To do so, we recommend taking the trail-less-traveled. Here, you’ll discover all that America’s newest national park has to offer. There’s a mysterious beauty that you’ll find off the beaten path. Here are some trails to get you started on your journey.
Moments of sheer wonder will certainly define your trip to the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve.
Oak Hill, WV
The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is well-known for its extensive opportunities for rock climbing. What better way to explore this park than with a birds-eye view? Book a full or half-day climbing and rappelling adventure with River Expeditions to take on the cliffs with expert guides by your side.
Glen Jean, WV
Take a break from your day-to-day scene and go on a wildlife viewing adventure. Bring your binoculars and head to Sandstone Falls–you just might catch a glimpse of a bald eagle. Or head to Grandview and keep your eyes peeled for the majestic monarch butterfly or a couple of darling black bear cubs.
Remember: Wildlife viewing is best done from afar– keeping a safe and respectful distance from WV’s wild and wonderful creatures.
Find your Foodie Paradise
After you’ve explored the expansive New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, head into any one of the charming towns of Fayetteville, Hinton or Beckley to refuel and recharge. These small towns are packed full of delicious eateries.
Pies & Pints
After a grand exploration, you’re likely to have a big appetite. Thankfully, scrumptious starters, specialty pizzas and savory sandwiches await you at Pies & Pints. This restaurant is a local favorite and a must-try when you’re visiting Fayetteville.
The Market on Courthouse Square
With filling food and immaculate service, The Market on Courthouse Square represents the good-natured atmosphere associated with the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve. A diverse menu will be sure to leave your road trip crew satisfied after a long day of adventuring.
King Tut Drive-In
After an eventful day at the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, pull up to King Tut Drive-In. Established in the 1940s, you’ll be getting a taste of both West Virginia history and cuisine here. Be sure to end a summery day with a King Cheeseburger, french fries and a hand-spun milkshake, the true classics.
Wood Iron Eatery
If made-from-scratch eats are on your bucket list, head to Wood Iron Eatery in nearby Fayetteville. This spot serves up breakfast treats to start your morning on a high note, as well as freshly roasted espresso. Enjoy a mid-day pick me up in the form of a Wood Iron Smash Burger or Vegan Green Bowl.
Rest & Relax
Not only is New River Gorge National Park & Preserve known for its outdoor recreation, but it’s also known for its excellent resorts, cozy cabins and quality campsites.
Adventures on the Gorge
Perched on the rim of the New River Gorge, Adventures on the Gorge provides visitors adventure by day and cozy stays by night. This resort offers cabins, vacation homes and the main lodge to suit every traveler’s needs, along with rafting trips, climbing tours and fishing lessons. Play well, stay well.
The Barn Loft
Nestled in the woods of Appalachia, you’ll find this unique stay at the New River Gorge. To get the ultimate glamping experience on this road trip, you’ll want to visit The Barn Loft, a light and airy rustic barn in Fayetteville.
Country Road Cabins
Can’t get enough of these magical West Virginia woods? Maybe you want a place the family can get together and unwind after a long day of adventuring? Look no further than Country Road Cabins in Hico. These deluxe cabins offer the comforts of home mixed with the remoteness of the wilderness. In addition to its cabins, there’s also a yurt or treehouse you could stay in. No matter in which you decide to stay, you’ll need to rest up for another day of exploration.
The Resort at Glade Springs
Escape to a luxurious hideaway nestled in the mountains just 25 minutes away from the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. The Resort at Glade Springs is the perfect place to rest your head after a day of adventure. Opt for a cozy suite in the Inn or decompress in a private villa.
With so much to do and explore in the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, what does the itinerary for your road trip look like? Start planning with a free copy of the 2021 WV Vacation Guide!
This post was last updated on February 23, 2022