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Top Things to do in New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

Situated in West Virginia, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is the 63rd National park and 20th preserve in the United States. The newest national park is mainly popular for adventure sports like white water rafting, rock climbing and mountain biking and the New River bridge walk. We visited the park in July 2021 (summer) and spent a weekend exploring the area. 

It became a National Park in December 2020. The 52 mile section of New River Gorge was named as a National river in 1978 by the National Park Service. Also, New River Gorge is the oldest river in the world (Interesting!)

Here are the top things to do in and around the park –

Stop at the Grandview

The Grandview area of the park has some amazing views of the Gorge. We stopped at Main overlook, North Overlook and Turkey Spur Overlook to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Gorge.

Visit the Sandstone Falls Boardwalk

Sandstone Falls Boardwalk is an hour drive from the Grandview visitor center. It is the largest waterfall in New River Gorge. The waterfall scenery looked very pretty with the backdrop of the mountains. 

Explore the Canyon Rim Area

Canyon Rim Area is the most visited part of the park. You can access the boardwalk which takes you to the iconic Bridge view. 

Hike the Endless wall trail

There are lot of hiking opportunities inside this park. We hiked the Endless Wall Trail and could not recommend it more. The parking fills up very fast, so would suggest to hike early in the day or late during the evening time. If you are looking for more hiking options, you can checkout the list here.

Go for Whitewater Rafting

New River Gorge National Park is mainly popular for Adventure Sports like White water rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking etc. We chose to do White Water Rafting in New River Gorge National Park. It was fun rafting and crushing the rapids and currents. If you are looking for White Water Rafting commercial operators – Checkout the link here.

Watch Sunset at Beauty Mountain

Beauty Mountain trail in Beauty Mountain Road is a hidden spot for the best sunset views. Carry your picnic mat  and favorite drink to enjoy the sunset in peace. Beauty Mountain Road is a narrow and unpaved road, so drive carefully. We parked at the road side with no issue, however it is to be noted that the parking is not allowed after dusk since its a private road.

Stay at Fayetteville

We stayed in ‘the coolest small in the world’ as the tagline of Fayettevile mentioned. The cute little town has amazing cafes and restaurants. We stayed in Quality Inn for 2 nights as we had work comittments, however would recommend booking cabins in the wood or camping in the wilderness.

Drive the scenic roads

We visited in summer and totally loved driving around the park. One of the popular drive is Fayette Station Road.

If you have more time

1. Visit nearby State Parks  such as Babcock State Park & Hawk Nest State Park.

2.  Checkout another adventure called Bridge Walk .

Best time to visit

We visited in Summer and would recommend the same if you are looking to do adventurous activities. Otherwise, I think Autumn would be the best choice.

Where to stay

We stayed at Quality Inn, Fayetteville. The hotel is just 10 minutes from Canyon Rim Visitor Center. The other option we would suggest is to find Cabins or Campgrounds to enjoy the wilderness.

Where to eat

Pies and Pints was our favorite in the area for its delicious pizzas. Try the Street Corn Pizza. It Yumm!! Also, visit the cute Cathedral cafe for breakfast ( A church converted into a cafe !)

Best way to explore

Driving inside or around the park is the best way to explore. There is plenty of parking area inside the park mainly in the visitor centers.

Other things to keep in mind

1. There are three visitor centers in the park and are situated miles apart. If you are planning to visit each of them do check the driving distance and time required before hand.

2. The National Park is tugged between towns and small neighborhoods, so drive carefully and strictly within the speed limits to avoid fines.

3. Do download offline maps on your mobile beforehand as the mobile networks are not trustworthy inside the National Park and State parks.

New River Gorge National Park is a beautiful park to visit during summer. This national park is different from others in terms of Adventure sports. 

Hope you find this blog helpful to plan your adventure trip to New River Gorge National Park.  Also, let us know in comments if have any questions. Happy to answer! or if you find our blog useful. Happy to know!

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