Adventure Guide to America’s Newest National Park: New River Gorge

Because of to the December COVID-19 stimulus package, nowadays the Nationwide Park Support offers gold

Because of to the December COVID-19 stimulus package, nowadays the Nationwide Park Support offers gold regular economical help to a portion of West Virginia’s New River Gorge, presenting globe-class rock climbing, rafting, climbing, and mountain biking. The New River Gorge is the America’s 63rd Nationwide Park.

In late 2020, Congress accredited converting 7,021 acres in the center of the seventy three,000-acre New River Gorge Protect into a Nationwide Park, with the stimulus package increasing amenities to help an believed 20 p.c maximize in tourism. The funding also supports the obtain of one hundred acres from regional landowners for trail access and improved parking. The remaining 65,000 acres in the Protect are selected for backcountry searching.

Situated in the southeastern corner of West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains, the park is within a 5-hour generate to significant metropolitan areas: Charlotte, NC Louisville, KY Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C.

“In 2020, we had an explosion of visitation below,” suggests Kenny Parker, operator and operator of the specialty climbing shop and guidebook assistance Waterstone Outdoors in Fayetteville, West Virginia. “Getting Nationwide Park standing will increase much more fuel to the fire.”

Today’s annual visitation to the “New” contains 1 million persons, numerous coming for outside adventures and scenic drives. The Gorge incorporates much more than 50 miles of whitewater up to Class V. It also contains 1,four hundred climbing routes (both sport and traditionally guarded) on bullet-tricky sandstone. The New York Occasions stories routes below “rank between the best in the East Coast for rock climbing.” New River Gorge also incorporates 13 miles of recently produced mountain bicycle trails.

Climbing in New River Gorge National Park
Matt Childers

Climbing at New River Gorge

In 1978, the Division of the Interior selected the New River Gorge a nationwide river. Swiftly, whitewater rafting put the New on the map. Climbing quickly followed in the nineteen eighties. Climbing is what introduced Parker to the area in which he’s authored hundreds of first ascents. Because of to the extensive measurement of the park and never-ending cliffsides, he compares it to Yosemite Valley in grandeur. “In the early days, no a person knew climbing was heading on below,” he suggests. “Today, climbing is the most significant consumer group.”

Parker credits the attractiveness of the climbing at the New with a spillover of the numerous climbing fitness centers popping up in encompassing states. Even though, with few rookie routes in the Gorge, he suggests the New is best suited for moderate to specialist climbers. “The rock is consistently excellent and it is as tricky as granite. And it is as numerous as it will get: steep faces, slabs, super overhanging, roofs, cracks of every single width.”

“I consider it is the best cragging (solitary-pitch routes) in the state that I’ve been to,” suggests regional climber Matt Childers. “I enjoy Fayetteville and it is around and expensive to my coronary heart. I consider these modifications are a terrific detail that will be excellent for the financial state.”

April by June, and Oct by December is best for rock climbing. Winter months and early spring convey significant rain, and summers are too hot, but then it is best for whitewater rafting and mountain biking.

Rafting, Base leaping, and mountain biking

Rafting in New River Gorge National Park
Courtesy of Jay Younger/Adventures on the Gorge

7 rafting outfitters run in the New, including the most significant, Adventures on the Gorge, which also delivers a restaurant, cabins, zip lines, guided whitewater rafting, climbing/rappelling, and fishing.

Boating in the New contains 53 miles of cost-free-flowing drinking water. The higher component (southern geographically) delivers principally relaxed drinking water and open up pools with rapids up to Class III. The decrease (northern), named Lessen Gorge, has Class III-V whitewater with “colossal rapids,” suggests NPS. Rafting period extends from April to Oct.

Rafting in New River Gorge National Park
Courtesy of Jay Younger/Adventures on the Gorge

West Virginia’s most significant competition is the annual Base-leaping function Bridge Day, which requires area on the 3rd Saturday in Oct. In 2019 (pre-COVID), it attracted one hundred,000 guests. That 12 months, three hundred jumpers leaped 876 ft from the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville. That is in addition to the 900 adventurers who rappelled to the ground. Other people selected zip-lining from the steel span, driving the line 700 ft down from the bridge catwalk to Fayette Station Road.

Mountain biking in the New contains the 12.8-mile Arrowhead Trails, a stacked looped method developed by 1,000 Boy Scouts in 2011. Their effort involved seventy eight,544 volunteer hrs. According to, the effort was “one of the most significant youth assistance initiatives in Nationwide Park Support history.”


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