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

Due to the December COVID-19 stimulus package deal, now the Nationwide Park Support provides gold normal economical support to a portion of West Virginia’s New River Gorge, supplying planet-course rock climbing, rafting, hiking, and mountain biking. The New River Gorge is the America’s 63rd Nationwide Park.

In late 2020, Congress permitted converting seven,021 acres in the center of the seventy three,000-acre New River Gorge Maintain into a Nationwide Park, with the stimulus package deal bettering amenities to support an estimated 20 percent enhance in tourism. The funding also supports the invest in of a hundred acres from nearby landowners for path entry and improved parking. The remaining sixty five,000 acres in the Maintain are designated for backcountry looking.

Located in the southeastern corner of West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains, the park is within just a five-hour push to significant towns: Charlotte, NC Louisville, KY Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C.

“In 2020, we had an explosion of visitation in this article,” says Kenny Parker, operator and operator of the specialty climbing shop and information services Waterstone Outdoor in Fayetteville, West Virginia. “Getting Nationwide Park position will add additional gas to the hearth.”

Today’s once-a-year visitation to the “New” incorporates one million persons, several coming for outside adventures and scenic drives. The Gorge includes additional than 50 miles of whitewater up to Course V. It also incorporates one,400 climbing routes (both of those activity and customarily secured) on bullet-difficult sandstone. The New York Instances reviews routes in this article “rank between the most effective in the East Coast for rock climbing.” New River Gorge also includes thirteen miles of freshly manufactured mountain bicycle trails.

Climbing in New River Gorge National Park
Matt Childers

Climbing at New River Gorge

In 1978, the Office of the Interior designated the New River Gorge a nationwide river. Immediately, whitewater rafting put the New on the map. Climbing soon adopted in the eighties. Climbing is what brought Parker to the place in which he’s authored hundreds of initial ascents. Due to the large dimensions of the park and under no circumstances-ending cliffsides, he compares it to Yosemite Valley in grandeur. “In the early times, no a person understood climbing was heading on in this article,” he says. “Today, climbing is the premier user group.”

Parker credits the popularity of the climbing at the New with a spillover of the several climbing gyms popping up in encompassing states. Although, with couple of novice routes in the Gorge, he says the New is most effective suited for moderate to pro climbers. “The rock is regularly very good and it is as difficult as granite. And it is as numerous as it will get: steep faces, slabs, super overhanging, roofs, cracks of each width.”

“I feel it is the most effective cragging (single-pitch routes) in the state that I have been to,” says nearby climber Matt Childers. “I love Fayetteville and it is in close proximity to and pricey to my heart. I feel these variations are a good issue that will be very good for the financial state.”

April by means of June, and October by means of December is most effective for rock climbing. Wintertime months and early spring provide major rain, and summers are also hot, but then it is ideal for whitewater rafting and mountain biking.

Rafting, Base jumping, and mountain biking

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

Seven rafting outfitters function in the New, which include the premier, Adventures on the Gorge, which also gives a restaurant, cabins, zip lines, guided whitewater rafting, climbing/rappelling, and fishing.

Boating in the New incorporates 53 miles of free-flowing drinking water. The upper section (southern geographically) gives mainly quiet drinking water and open swimming pools with rapids up to Course III. The lower (northern), named Lower Gorge, has Course III-V whitewater with “colossal rapids,” says NPS. Rafting season extends from April to October.

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

West Virginia’s premier competition is the once-a-year Base-jumping occasion Bridge Day, which normally takes place on the 3rd Saturday in October. In 2019 (pre-COVID), it captivated a hundred,000 site visitors. That yr, 300 jumpers leaped 876 feet from the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville. That is in addition to the 900 adventurers who rappelled to the floor. Many others chose zip-lining from the steel span, driving the line 700 feet down from the bridge catwalk to Fayette Station Highway.

Mountain biking in the New incorporates the twelve.8-mile Arrowhead Trails, a stacked looped program designed by one,000 Boy Scouts in 2011. Their energy incorporated 78,544 volunteer hours. In accordance to, the energy was “one of the premier youth services projects in Nationwide Park Support historical past.”


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