Things To Do at the New River Gorge

Whether you are into outdoor activities such as climbing, biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, or just like to enjoy a picnic, a quite bit of birding, or camp and watch the river roll by, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve has much to offer. The park provides visitors with an opportunity to learn more about the cultural history of the area and visit some of the historic sites within the park. There are many possibilities for extreme sports as well as a more relaxing experience.

New River Gorge carves a breathtaking swatch through the Appalachian mountains—the longest and deepest in the range—with all kinds of undisturbed wildlife. It’s also an adrenaline-soaked playground for adventure sports. River rats can try whitewater rafting or kayaking the 53 miles of river—just be sure to brace yourself for its wild flip-you-off-your-raft Class IV and Class V rapids.

Bridge Walk has daily tours across the catwalk beneath the bridge, which take you 1.25 miles from one end to the other. The trip lasts 2 to 3 hours, meaning plenty of time to ask questions, snap photos and take in the beauty of the New River Gorge.

Don’t miss the surreal warning signs posted for miners, and there are some great not-so-strenuous hikes where you can swing past the coal towns, see some waterfalls, and snap pics with America’s longest arch bridge on the same trip.

Whitewater Rafting

For Class IV and V rapids, look no further than the New and Gauley rivers. During the summer months, the lower New River is the perfect place to beat the heat and get your fair share of adrenaline.

Several local outfitters offer packages perfect for an action-packed day of river running. But don’t forget that the end of summer in West Virginia doesn’t mark the end of the state’s season for outdoor adventure. 

Rock Climbing

Within New River Gorge National Park and Preserve are over 1,400 established rock climbs. “The New” has become one of the most popular climbing areas in the country. The cliffs at New River Gorge are made up of a very hard sandstone, and range from 30 to 120 feet in height.

The rock is very featured, and an abundance of crack and face routes are available. Most of the routes in the gorge favor the advanced and expert climber. The majority of routes are 5.9 and harder, and most sport routes fall in the 5.10 – 5.12 range.


Trails range from 1/4 mile to 7 miles in length. Several can be easily connected to make for longer excursions. Difficulty varies from flat, smooth walking to steep challenging terrain. Trail recommendations and maps are offered at Canyon Rim, Grandview, Sandstone, and Thurmond visitor centers. 

Peaceful forest trails, superb overlooks, and historic scenery are all found here. The trails available consist of park service trails that are marked and maintained, trails within lands administered by state parks, and undeveloped trails and abandoned roads.


The beautiful landscapes and the variety of difficult to less challenging bike routes make the New River Gorge among the most popular destinations for mountain biking trips in the eastern U.S.

Bike shops, mountain biking trails, outfitters and companies offering guided biking tours of the New River Gorge and nearby areas may be found throughout the region.

Adventure Lake

A popular vacation destination with stunning views, ACE Adventure Resort has everything you could possibly need for a perfect family getaway. The spring-fed mountain lake water park features water slides, large inflatable toys, a zipline and the high-flying water toy known as the BLOB. Not to mention, the white sand beach is perfect for sunbathing and volleyball. You can play all day and never have to leave the property because of the conveniently located restaurant.

You can also find cozy cabins, a ziplining course, whitewater rafting, fine dining and more, at ACE. It’s a perfect destination for thrill seekers and nature lovers alike. Whether visiting for a day or staying an entire week, this 1,500-acre paradise is a necessary stop.


The only zipline course with views of the Gorge, ACE’s  New River Gorge zipline tour includes 9 zip cliffside zips. It is as exciting as it is beautiful. The dual zips mean that you can race your friends for bragging rights, and with two sky bridges, you can look down below on the trees and a mountain stream.

Experience this incredible zipline journey during the day, or at night, with your path lit only by a headlamp attached to your helmet.

Small Towns


Located in close proximity to the nation’s newest national park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, Fayetteville is a must-visit location for those looking to tap into their adventurous side. Here you’ll find world class whitewater rafting, hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking. But that’s not all that’s in store for you when you visit this charming small town. You can also expect delicious local eateries and plenty of specialty shopping.


While in the area, you have to make the short drive to Lewisburg and experience for yourself the warm, welcoming small-town feeling. The downtown area is picturesque, artsy, historic and known for being one of West Virginia’s most walkable cities. Stroll down its beautiful streets for some shopping, sightseeing and fine dining.

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This post was last updated on February 24, 2022