40 Reasons To Visit The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

This year marks the 40th anniversary of National Travel and Tourism Week (May 7-13), so there’s no better time to celebrate the beauty and wonder of travel. To commemorate this milestone, we’re giving you 40 reasons why you should visit the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. From amazing scenery and exciting outdoor activities to cultural attractions and historical sites, the New River Gorge has something for everyone. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a history buff or just looking for a relaxing getaway, there are countless reasons to explore this incredible park. So pack your bags, hit the road and discover why the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is one of America’s best travel destinations.

1. Explore a network of 65 trails that offer stunning vistas, including the popular Endless Wall Trail and Long Point Trail.

2. Test your skills on world-class rock climbing routes, with varying levels of difficulty and breathtaking views.

3. Challenge yourself with exhilarating rapids as you navigate the New River, one of the oldest and most scenic rivers in North America. 

4. Take on the challenge of the park’s mountain biking trails, ranging from easy rides to technical singletracks.

5. Pack a picnic and head to a scenic overlook or riverside picnic area.

6. Cast your line into the New River and its tributaries, home to an abundance of smallmouth bass, trout, and more.

7. Traverse scenic trails on horseback, experiencing the park from a different perspective.

8. Soar through the treetops and take in panoramic views of the Gorge on a thrilling zip line tour.

9. Pitch a tent at one of the park’s scenic campgrounds and fall asleep to the soothing sounds of nature.

10.  Take a scenic drive through the park, including the 52-mile New River Gorge Scenic Drive.

11. Spot a wide variety of bird species, including the majestic bald eagle, as you explore the park’s diverse habitats.

12. Take a Bridge Walk tour to learn more about the New River Gorge Bridge, one of the world’s longest single-span arch bridges. 

13. Visit all the best waterfalls in the New River Gorge, including Cathedral Falls and Kanawha Falls

14. Visit one of the park’s visitor centers to learn about the area’s geology, history and culture. 

15. Witness one of the world’s largest extreme sports events, Bridge Day, where thrill-seekers BASE jump from the iconic New River Gorge Bridge.

16. Catch the sunrise or sunset from one of the many overlooks throughout the park. 

17. Explore the park during springtime and discover a vibrant array of wildflowers blooming throughout the gorge.

18. Visit the small towns located in the New River Gorge and support unique shops and restaurants.

19. Participate in a guided nature walk or interpretive program.

20. Book a stay at a secluded cabin and relax in a hot tub. 

21. Visit Babcock State Park and snap a picture in front of the iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill. 

22. Watch for wildlife, including white-tailed deer, beaver, bald eagles and more. 

23. Witness a breathtaking display of autumn colors as the trees surrounding the Gorge transform into vibrant hues in October and November. 

24. Explore the remnants of the region’s coal mining past by visiting nearby towns like Thurmond and Nuttallburg

25. Paddle along calm waters in a kayak or canoe, enjoying peaceful moments and stunning scenery.

26. Capture stunning shots of your adventures in the Gorge and share them with us on Instagram by using #GoGorge

27. Immerse yourself in the unique culture, warm hospitality and rich heritage of West Virginia.

28. Take in one-of-a-kind sights from an overlook at Hawks Nest State Park

29. Attend annual outdoor festivals that feature local musicians and artisans.

30. Appreciate the best amenities while staying close to all the adventures at one of our local hotels

31. Connect with nature and rejuvenate your body and mind with a yoga class.

32.  Marvel at the stars and constellations that illuminate the New River Gorge night sky

33. Attend art exhibitions featuring the works of local artists inspired by the park’s natural beauty. 

34. Walk, run or bike on scenic rail trails throughout the New River Gorge. 

35. Bring your four-legged friends along and find the best pet-friendly adventures and lodging

36. Experience all the comforts of home at a cozy bed-and-breakfast

37. Hop on the New River Jet Boats for a unique view of the New River Gorge Bridge from below. 

38. Discover the thrill of off-roading on designated trails with a local outfitter.

39. Engage in educational programs that highlight the importance of conservation and the park’s natural resources.

40. Soak up the beauty and peacefulness of one of America’s newest national parks

Travel has always been a wonderful way to broaden our horizons, explore new cultures and create unforgettable memories. During National Travel and Tourism Week, follow along with the New River Gorge on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as we move #TravelForward.