Becky Sullivan might be new to her position as the Executive Director of the New River Gorge Convention & Visitors Bureau, but she has a lifelong connection to the area. A Fayette County native and Oak Hill resident, Becky is thrilled about the opportunity to share her backyard with others. “The Gorge is a special place — it’s nature’s playground — and it’s my home, so that makes it even easier and more meaningful for me, personally, to promote,” she said.
And, while she feels like there’s never a bad time to visit the Gorge, autumn just might be her favorite. Check out some of Becky’s suggestions on places to see and things to do, so that you, too, can fall in love with the Gorge this season.
When people think of autumn in the New River Gorge, they think of Bridge Day, the state’s largest one-day festival held on the third Saturday in October. It is the one day of the year that pedestrians are allowed on the famed New River Gorge Bridge, and thrillseekers can BASE jump, rappel or zipline from the structure. This year’s Bridge Day, the event’s 40th anniversary, will be on Saturday, October 19.
Whitewater enthusiasts around the globe visit the New River Gorge during September and October each year for Gauley Season, West Virginia’s official “fifth season.” During this time, a number of scheduled releases take place from Summersville Dam into the Gauley River, making for some of the most intense rapids ever encountered.
A Bridge Walk tour is a lovely way to see the Gorge in all of its glory — particularly in autumn. Learn the history of the area and facts about the building of the New River Gorge Bridge during a three-hour tour across the catwalk. Be sure to bring a camera and take advantage of the spectacular views.
Hawks Nest State Park
This fall, explore Hawks Nest State Park. Spanning more than 270 acres at the gateway of the Gorge, Hawks Nest features a scenic overlook with breathtaking views of the New River, a nature museum, aerial tramway, jet boat rides, hiking trails, whitewater rafting access and more.