New River Gorge – America’s 63rd National Park

New River Gorge – America’s 63rd National Park

To celebrate National Parks Week this year, I’ve decided to write about America’s newest National Park – New River Gorge in West Virginia.

I drive through this park on my way to visiting my kids in Virginia. It’s a gorgeous area. I’ve had the opportunity to stay in the area a few times and experience some of the many adventurous activities available.



The best way to see New River Gorge is on a raft. The really cool thing about the New River is that different sections of the river allow for varying levels of difficulty. You can go on a scenic float trip or an adventurous whitewater ride. If you’re experienced, you can challenge yourself with a difficult run.

New River Gorge Bridge

The must-see landmark of New River Gorge is the bridge. When construction was completed in 1977, it was the world’s highest bridge. Today it is the world’s third-highest. When you raft under it, you can really appreciate the height, but there are also observation points where you can get a nice view of the bridge.


This scenic park is also ideal for hiking. The first time we went rafting here, our guide pointed out the ruins of the abandoned Kaymoor Coal Mine that nature had reclaimed and told us there was a hiking trail to it. My son was fascinated by the idea of seeing modern ruins, and so we hiked to it the next day.

You can also go visit a historic railroad town and hike in search of waterfalls. New River Gorge National Park offers nearly 100 miles of hiking trails.

More activities

Resorts in the areas surrounding New River Gorge National Park offer rafting trips along with a mind-boggling number of other activities. This area is an adventure seeker’s dream!

On the water

You can find the following water-related activities in the area surrounding the park:

  • Stand-up Paddleboarding
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Pontoon boats
  • Jet boats
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Inflatable Waterpark
In the air

Adventure abounds, including aerial activities like:

  • Ziplining
  • Canopy courses

  • Bridge walk (yes, you can walk on the framework under the New River Gorge Bridge!)
  • Rock climbing and rappelling
On land

The adventure continues on the ground:

  • Mountain biking
  • ATVing
  • Horseback riding
  • Mud obstacle course
  • Paintball
  • Outdoor laser tag (This was SO MUCH FUN!)

  • Archery

  • Shooting
  • Hunting
  • Geocaching
  • Golf
  • Disc golf
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Badminton

  • Ladderball
  • Cornhole
  • Skiing (in winter)

Then you can head underground for:

  • Cave tours
  • Coal mine tour


If the weather doesn’t cooperate, or for a change of pace, you can head indoors for:

  • Escape Rooms
  • Bowling
  • Indoor tennis

And after all that adventure, if you want to relax at a spa, they’ve got those too. 🙂

Lodging options in the area include everything from resorts and deluxe cabins to rustic cabins and campgrounds.

There is truly something for everyone in the New River Gorge region. And for that reason, I planned a family reunion there, and we had a wonderful time.

I would love to help you plan a vacation to New River Gorge National Park. Read about how my planning services work here.

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