5 Instagrammable Spots in the New River GorgeSeptember 28, 2023
Are you ready to fill your feed with the breathtaking beauty of fall? It’s that time of year again when the leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange and gold, creating the perfect backdrop for your Instagram posts. And if you’re looking for the ultimate autumn escape that will make all your followers green with envy, look no further than the stunning landscapes of West Virginia’s New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
West Virginia is home to many photogenic landscapes, offering a wide display of colorful vistas, famous landmarks and thrilling adventures just waiting to be captured and shared. When it comes to finding the ideal backdrop for your autumn posts, the New River Gorge takes center stage. With its sweeping panoramas, natural splendor and unique state landmarks, the area is a dream come true for Instagrammers.
Glade Creek Grist Mill
You’ve probably seen it gracing calendars, mugs and coffee table books worldwide — the iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill. Located at Babcock State Park, this weathered mill is one of the most photographed places in West Virginia. Perfectly positioned in front of the Glade Creek Grist Mill is an Almost Heaven swing. An initiative by the West Virginia Department of Tourism, Almost Heaven swings can be found throughout the state in some of the most Instagrammable spots. Be sure to share your photos on social media using #AlmostHeaven.
But the mill is more than just Instagram-worthy material; it is fully operational. During its operating hours, visitors can tour the mill and gain insights into the corn-grinding process. Beneath this historic grist mill, the Glade Creek Grist Mill Falls cascade, forming a photographer’s paradise. To make the most of your visit, time it for peak foliage when this spot transforms into a leaf-peeper’s haven.
Long Point Trail
When it comes to embracing the beauty of autumn, hiking stands out as one of the best ways to do so. With a vast network of trails spanning over 100 miles throughout the region, there’s an excellent path for every type of explorer here. Among these, the Long Point Trail shines as a crowd favorite within the Gorge. This 1.6-mile one-way moderate trail leads to a legendary viewpoint of the New River Gorge Bridge and its spectacular surroundings. While most of the trail gently descends through the forest, it includes one steep section just before reaching the viewpoint.
Don’t forget your camera! Long Point Trail’s rocky outcrop overlook provides the best backdrop to snap a captivating photo of the iconic New River Gorge Bridge. Alternatively, time your visit to witness the mesmerizing colors of a West Virginia sunset at Long Point.
Take a drive along Fayette Station Road, a winding one-way route that passes under the New River Gorge Bridge. As you make your way along this historic road, you’ll be treated to a river-level view of the bridge. Fayette Station Road winds its way down to the bottom of the Gorge, crossing a narrow bridge and then climbing up the other side, providing vistas of the river, bridges, forests and remnants of once-thriving communities. It’s a journey through history that’s great for your Instagram grid.
Start your drive to Fayette Station from the Canyon Rim Visitor Center and make a left turn onto Route 19. Immediately, turn right onto Lansing Edmond Road, which is about a quarter-mile ahead. Look for a road sign marked “Fayette Station Road.” Once on Fayette Station Road, you’ll come to a fork in the road almost immediately; be sure to take the left fork. Continue on Fayette Station Road, which will lead you into the Gorge via Route 82. Along this route, you’ll encounter a series of two- and one-way roads that pass under the New River Gorge Bridge twice, offering plenty of spots to pull over and admire the wonderful views. Keep an eye out for signs indicating Fayette Station Route 82 as you continue down this winding road. As you reach the bottom of the Gorge, you’ll cross the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge. Look for the Fayette Station Parking lot nearby. This area provides an excellent background for your photos with the New River Gorge Bridge and New River behind you. The road will wind its way back up, ultimately leading you back to Fayetteville.
Thurmond Ghost Town
Step back in time and wander through the ghost town of Thurmond, capturing the charm of its remarkably preserved buildings. Established in the 1880s, Thurmond was once a bustling hub for miners and their families. During the 1920s, it boasted more coal traffic than Cincinnati, Ohio, but a series of setbacks, including increased rail competition, fires and the Great Depression, led to its decline. Today, Thurmond stands as a designated historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, with most of it owned by the National Park Service.
Explore the forgotten era of Thurmond. The well-preserved buildings, including hotels, a bank and the train depot, will give you a sense of the town’s golden era. The eerie atmosphere of Thurmond leads many to believe that this almost abandoned town is haunted. Find out for yourself on a Thurmond Walking Tour.
Local Art & Murals
When you’re ready to infuse your New River Gorge adventure with a burst of color and a strong sense of community spirit, take some time to visit the charming small towns that grace the region, each decorated with vibrant murals that tell their unique stories. These artful creations will add a pop of color to your next post.
- Outdoor Recreation Mural
This mural in Fayetteville was created by Charleston artist Rob Cleland and is a spirited celebration of outdoor recreation and local landmarks. Beyond outdoor recreation, the mural brightly depicts some of the signature features of the town, like its historic courthouse, the New River Gorge Bridge and the Marquis de Lafayette statue.
- Main Street In 1965 Mural
Traveling to Oak Hill takes you on a journey back in time, thanks to the Main Street In 1965 Mural. This mural, placed at the corner of Oak Hill Avenue and Main Street, transports you to the city’s heyday. Through intricate detailing, period vehicles and signage showcasing recognizable businesses of that era, this mural vividly recreates the atmosphere of Oak Hill in 1965. A second mural located next to it depicts life in Oak Hill in the 1920s.
- The Phoenix Wall Mural
In Mount Hope, the Phoenix Wall mural stands as a bold representation of the town’s rich history and its optimistic outlook toward the future. Created by Ian Bode and Brian Pickens, this artwork is a testament to resilience and community spirit, depicting rich imagery that signifies Mount Hope’s connection to its roots and the promise of what lies ahead.
- V.F.W. Patriotic Mural
Ansted proudly pays homage to its veterans with the V.F.W. Patriotic Mural. This mural, a labor of love by Ansted Elementary Art Teacher Kimberly Sexton and her talented students, stands as a testament to the town’s deep appreciation for those who have served their country. Vibrant and patriotic, this artwork adds a touch of color and pride to the community while honoring the brave men and women who have dedicated themselves to the defense of their nation.
Now that you know the top Instagrammable spots in the New River Gorge, it’s time to start capturing these stunning vistas and unique experiences! Share your adventures with us using #GoGorge.