Get A True Taste of West Virginia Along This Memorable Route

Less than three hours outside Roanoke, this stretch of West Virginia is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Shaped by the famous New River Gorge, you’ll find plenty of riverside activities, outdoor adventures and some of the most extraordinary views. Pair that with the region’s compelling historical past and vibrant small towns, and you’ve got one very memorable trip.


Rushing river with large brown rocks along the shore and a bridge downriver in the distance

New River Gorge National River

It would be hard to see all 70,000 acres of the New River Gorge National River in one day, let alone one weekend. White water rapids, hundreds of miles of trails and stunning mountain cliffs are just a few things that make this area so special. Some of the most notable places include the New River Gorge Bridge, Endless Wall Trail, Grandview Overlook and Sandstone Falls. Or, if you prefer to just explore on your own, a simple walk along the New River—the oldest river on the continent—is special and memorable in its own way.

ACE Adventure Resort

ACE Adventure Resort is for anyone looking to have a ton of fun, all in one place. One of the biggest draws to the New River area is the rafting, and ACE Adventure is the best place to do exactly that. But thrilling white water rafting isn’t the only activity this place has to offer. You can also find waterslides, swimming areas, launch pads, paintballing and nighttime zipline tours.

Photo by McKenzie Young

Long Point Trail

You can’t make a visit to the New River Gorge and not check out Long Point Trail. A relatively moderate hike, the whole trail is three miles and takes about two hours to complete, but you will be rewarded with some of the best views of the New River Gorge Bridge. Don’t forget your camera—there are numerous rock overlooks along the way to stop and enjoy the scenery and take some fantastic photographs.

Group of people in a covered outdoor patio smiling and laughing with small lights strung overhead

Historic Downtown Fayetteville

Fayetteville is the ideal blend of old and new. A prominent place during the Civil War, Fayetteville has such a rich history that the entire city made it onto the National Register of Historic Places. Take a walking tour through Fayetteville’s Historic District, which consists of 75 unique homes and buildings, and learn about what makes this small Appalachian town so special. If you’re hungry after the tour, grab a sandwich from Secret Sandwich Society, enjoy some pizza at Pies & Pints, or sample some fresh, local produce at the Fayette County Farmers Market.

New River Gorge Bridge

Probably one of the most photographed landmarks in all of West Virginia, the New River Gorge Bridge is a must-see. Artfully and delicately built, the 3,000-foot long bridge seems to suddenly spring from the middle of the forest. One of the best places to view the bridge in its entirety is from the lookout at Long Point Trail. For a more unique perspective, head down to the bottom of the gorge to Tunney Hunsaker bridge and look up at this engineering masterpiece.

New River Gorge Bridge Walk

If simply viewing the New River Gorge Bridge isn’t adventurous enough for you, then why not try walking across it? At Bridge Walk, visitors can traverse the catwalk that sits 25 feet beneath the bridge. Lasting about three hours, the walk takes people over the entire length of the bridge and provides an exclusive view into both the structure and the surrounding landscape. If you’re looking to add some romance to the experience, sign up for the full moon or sunset walk and see the bridge in a whole new light.

Hawks Nest State Park

The name of this state park should give you an idea of where it’s located and the incredible aerial views it provides. Hawks Nest State Park is located on 270 acres above the New River Gorge. The park’s clifftop overlook offers a magnificent view of the New River some 750 feet below, and is sometimes referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” There are plenty of paved pathways and well-maintained stairs throughout the park, in addition to a rustic lodge, an on-site restaurant and an aerial tramway.

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This post was last updated on September 16, 2020