New River Gorge National Park and PreserveScenic mountains and breathtaking gorge views await at the nation’s newest national park. The New River Gorge National Park & Preserve is steeped in rich history and outdoor recreation—making it the heavenly escape you’ve been longing for.
Welcome to America’s 63rd national park—the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve. Home to more than 70,000 acres of public lands, this park has been a hallowed spot for locals for centuries. The recent designation as the nation’s newest national park invites travelers, like you, to visit, explore and discover your own slice of heaven. This destination earned several mentions from major publications including Condé Nast Traveler, AFAR, The Points Guy and Forbes.
Easily accessible by Route 19 and I-64, the New River Gorge is one of West Virginia’s most photographed areas. The iconic steel arch bridge was once the longest in the world and welcomes travelers to this cherished region. Widely known as the second oldest river in the world, the New River cuts through extensive geological formations that make way for diverse flora and fauna. Bald eagles and peregrine falcons call this park home, and you’ll often spot a few along your travels. Hiking trails here take you to spectacular overlooks and through remnants of old coal mining towns.
World-Class Whitewater Rafting
West Virginia has been selected as one of National Geographic’s “Best of the World” Top 20 Travel Experiences for 2024 because of world-class whitewater rafting at the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Whether travelers are looking for heart-pounding, high-adrenaline rafting or a family-friendly float, the New River Gorge National Park provides one of the world’s best experiences.
Your Whitewater Rafting Adventure Awaits in #AlmostHeaven
Explore New River Gorge Attractions
Must See Stops in New River Gorge National Park
When first immersing themselves in the magic of the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, many visitors begin at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. This scenic wonder is a must-see stop for any first-timer, providing historical and educational information to over 300,000 visitors each year.
At the Canyon Rim Visitors Center, soak up breathtaking views at what many consider the most perfect overlook of the New River Gorge Bridge. Take your visit up a notch by stopping by for an early morning sunrise or late evening sunset, placing yourself in a true state of Almost Heaven.
As you head back upriver you just might notice the wide cascading waters of Sandstone Falls. Stop for a quick visit to enjoy the stunning views and inspiring landscapes surrounding the largest waterfall on the New River.
Serving as a starting point for the iconic rushing waters that make the New River a rafter’s paradise, Sandstone Falls is a true beauty. Continue on your journey down the river, only after soaking up every view of these serene yet powerful falls, spanning a total of 1500 feet wide.
Yet another fan-favorite overlook, Grandview provides the perfect balance of the peaceful trail adventures and awe-inspiring views that set the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve apart. Enjoy an added layer of beauty at this stop by visiting in spring, as the official state flower, the Rhododendron, begins to bloom along the gorge.
Explore a wide variety of hiking trails with adventures ranging from strenuous treks to leisurely strolls. Pick and choose the segments of trails you wish to complete to find your perfect path.
After several adventurous stops along on your New River Gorge National Park & Preserve road trip, it is time for a peaceful retreat. Refresh and refuel along the banks of the enchanted Bluestone River. Within the park, explore a 10.5-mile section of this rushing river as it carves its way through a rugged mountain-scape.
Take some time to experience this area, rich with a diverse collection of flora and fauna.
Along the winding turns of the mountain route to Fayette Station, a special bridge view is sure to stop you in your tracks. Though this beautiful destination might have you counting down the miles, don’t forget to take in the beauty of the journey as you head downhill.
Turn back time as you take on the route that locals traveled for nearly 100 years before the modern New River Gorge Bridge took shape as a structural wonder. Have your camera on the ready as you make this passage to ensure you don’t miss a scenic capture.
An Event Like No Other: Bridge Day
This amazing spectacle draws thousands every year, with visitors traveling from all over the world to see daredevils leap from the edge of the bridge and plummet over 800 feet down, parachuting toward the New River.
Our Almost Heaven Playlist
While you plan your adventure through America’s newest national park, listen to our curated playlist of West Virginia favorites. Be sure to download so you can listen to it along your travels on the Mountain State’s country roads.
New River Gorge National Park In The News
A popular rock climbing and whitewater rafting destination in southeastern West Virginia has officially become a U.S. national park, thanks to the latest COVID-19 stimulus package….
Some good and green news: America, we have a new national park….
If one major travel trend has emerged over the tumultuous months of the pandemic, it’s been the public’s enormous appetite for getting outdoors….
There are moments, as you drift through the deep canyon walls of the New River Gorge, when it feels like you’ve got the whole world to yourself….
Did you know?
- The New River Gorge is the country’s 63rd national park. West Virginia became a state in 1863, so some now say 63 is the state's lucky number!
- The New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world, some claim is to be the second oldest, aging between 10 and 360 million years old.
- The Kaymoor mine, a former coal mine nestled in the bank of the New River, produced more than 16 million tons of coal during its lifetime.
- TIME designated the New River Gorge as one of the World's Greatest Places.
- The New River Gorge bridge is the 2nd highest steel arch in the United States and the 2nd longest single arch bridge in the world!
- The New River is approximately 320 miles long, traveling through North Carolina, Virginia, and ending in West Virginia.
- The New River flows south to north, unlike most North American rivers.
- The New River National Park & Preserve is home to more than 70,000 acres of public lands.
- The ghost town of Thurmond was once one of the richest towns in West Virginia.
- Bridge Day, West Virginia’s largest single-day festival where BASE jumpers leap off the bridge, is one of the largest extreme sports events in the world.
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