New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is the 63rd National Park in the United States. The national park is a recent addition to the National Park Service (NPS) unit to maintain and protect the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia. The national park Preserve stretches for 53 miles (85 km) from downstream of Hinton to Hawks Nest State Park near Ansted, and the park is 53 miles long.
Where is New River Gorge National Park
New River Gorge National Park is located in southern West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. Check this West Virginia National Parks Map to find New River Gorge National Park on the West Virginia Map.
Places to Visit Near New River Gorge National Park
- New River Gorge Bridge
- Babcock State Park
- Bank of Glen Jean
- Richmond Hamilton Farm
- Trump-Lily Farm
- Hawks Nest State Park
- Fayette Station Road
- Nuttallburg Coal Mining Complex and Town Historic District
- Sandstone Falls
Things to Do in New River Gorge National Park
The tourist visiting New River Gorge National Park and Preserve can indulge in various recreational activities. It is a famous destination for outdoor recreation because of its rich cultural and natural history. Some of the popular activities are:
- Fishing (New River)
- Rappelling and Base Jumping
- Wildlife viewing and Bird watching
- Hiking and mountaineering
- Rock Climbing (The Cliffs at the “New”)
- Whitewater Rafting (New River Gorge)
- Ranger-led Programs
- Camping and backpacking
- Hunting and Picnicking
- Scenic Drive
New River Gorge National Park Hiking
New River Gorge national park and Preserve has over 50 miles (80 km) of hiking trails, from peaceful forest trails to superb overlooks and historic scenery. The trails range from ¼ mile to 7 miles in length, and difficulty varies from easy walks to more challenging steep hikes. There are several trails following old railroad grades that are open to bikes.
Best Hikes in New River Gorge National Park
Grandview Area Trails:
The trails in this area offer spectacular views, rock formations and woodlands. The region has six miles of hiking trails providing unsurpassed views of the deepest section of New River Gorge. Some popular trails are Big Buck Trail, Castle Rock Trail, Grandview Rim Trail, Little Laurel Trail, Woodland Loop Trail and Tunnel Trail.
Glade Creek Trails: The trails in this area offer a scenic walk along Cascading Waterfalls and Pools. Some of the marked trails in the area are Glade Creek Trail, Kates Falls Trail, Kates Plateau Trail and Polls Plateau Trail.
Sandstone Brooks Area Trails:
This area is located at the park’s south end with several excellent trails. Some famous trails are Sandstone Falls Boardwalk, Island Loop Trail, Gwinn Ridge Trail, Big Branch Trail and Sandstone Falls Overlook.
Fayetteville Area Trails:
Trails in this area provide access to some of the most spectacular overlooks in the park. Some popular trails are Bridge Trail, Burnwood Trail, Butcher Branch Trail, Canyon Rim Boardwalk, Craig Branch Trail and Fayetteville Trail. Many trails in this area were designed and built by Volunteers.
Trails in this area allow visitors to explore the remains of an old coal-mining town. Some popular trails are Conveyor Trail, Headhouse Trail, Keeney’s Creek Rail Trail, Seldom Seen Trail and Tipple Trail.
Facts about New River Gorge National Park
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve was established in 1978 as a national river and redesignated in 2020 as the Park and Preserve.
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve have over 1,400 established rock climbs.
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve have the most diverse flora of any River Gorge in southern and central Appalachia. There are forty different plant communities containing 1342 species and 54 rare plants identified in the Gorge.
New River Gorge National Park Preserve protects over 70,000 acres of the magnificent Gorge that this river created.
Visiting Hours and Seasons of New River Gorge National Park
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is open year-round, 24 hours a day, except for national holidays. One does not require a pass or fee to enter New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. The best time to visit New River Gorge national park is from April through October, as the weather is warm and rafting trips are offered. The national park headquarters is at Glen Jean, and it is open year-round from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM ( Monday to Friday)). The timings of the various visitor centres of the National Park are as follows:
Canyon Rim Visitor Center:
This visitor centre is Open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sandstone Visitor Center
: This visitor center opens daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM(April through November). In winter, it opens on weekends (Saturday and Sunday).
Thurmond Depot Visitor Center
is open seasonally from Memorial Day through Labor Day from 10:00 to 5:00 PM. Open Weekends for September and October.
Grandview Visitor Center:
It is open seasonally from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 PM (Memorial Day through Labor Day. Open Weekends in September and closed October through May.