What’s “growing on” in the Gorge

There’s a world-class ecosystem in our backyard. And now that it’s April, park programs, special hikes, and Earth Day events come into full bloom. Don’t let a single warm day go to waste. Strap on those boots and soak up glorious views and sunshine!

Easter Sunrise Bridge Walk

Be one of the first to greet April 16! Bridge Walk will have an exclusive stroll at 5:30 a.m., right when the sun climbs over the mountains.
If you’ve never tried these spectacular “hikes,” you’re in for a delightful time. A Bridge Walk happens on the catwalk immediately beneath the 876-foot high New River Gorge Bridge. And at 3,030 feet, it’s the longest steel-arch span in the Americas, too.
If you want to do something special on Easter, you won’t go wrong with this breathtaking trip.

Open-air exercises

Park Prescription Day: it’s the easiest way to keep the doctor at bay! On April 23, try yoga, tai chi, guided walks, or trail running at Grandview— a stunning park poised above the New River. Being surrounded by nature makes exercising so much easier, too.
While you’re at it, pick up a new sport. Rangers will have equipment like stand-up paddle boards, mountain bikes, climbing harnesses, and more. Try ‘em all from noon to 4 p.m.

Wildflower Weekend

The deep, heavily forested New River Gorge shelters an enormous range of plants. Spring reveals these sparkling gems by the thousands, too: showy orchids, dainty fairy bells, extravagant lilies, and many more.
It’s a dazzling show, precious and fleeting. If you’ve let too many seasons pass by, there’s always Wildflower Weekend. Go on guided hikes, help botanists, and admire nature-inspired artwork!
Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Hawks Nest Botany Blast: Look for sprays of colorful blooms as you walk on an easy 2-mile trail. A stunning 20-foot waterfall sweetens the deal.
  • Twin Falls Nature Explosion: Help your kids with Earth Day crafts and games. While you’re there, visit the charming Pioneer Farm.
  • Garlic Mustard Pull: Help rangers at Glade Creek and Pipestem remove an invasive herb. Make reservations by April 24 and bring water, gloves, and appropriate clothing.
  • Old Growth Science Trek: Carnifex Ferry Battlefield may be a Civil War site, but it’s also a rich ecosystem with diverse and rare plant life. Join a ranger and see what’s growing!

This year’s Wildflower Weekend lasts April 28-30. For a full list of activities, check out the online schedule.

Springtime inspirations

Also joining the festivities is Tamarack, “The Best of West Virginia” art center. Find out how wildflowers fire the imagination during “Afternoon with the Artists,” a nature-inspired event with demonstrations. You have all weekend (April 28-30) to catch the show.
Tamarack will also feature the “Youth Arts in the Parks Appalachian Spring Wildflower Art Exhibit” from now till May 1.
You’ll find plenty more while exploring the gallery, too. “Pretty Pickle” jewelry captures fragile flowers, ferns, and leaves in resin, while some handmade soaps are scented with herbs. West Virginia plants also appear as stylized designs on pottery, prints, paintings, and more!

Earth Day

Get out and smell the roses! April 22 encourages us to take a second look at what’s growing and blooming. Fortunately, an Earth Day Walk does just that.
This special stroll starts at Glade Creek Trailhead— one of the New River Gorge’s most idyllic locations. One storybook scenery unfolds after the next: a cascade here, a gushing stream there. It’s a leisurely stroll, so you’ll have time to take photos. Meet up with a guide at 10 a.m. You’ll finish by noon.
How do you spend spring in the Gorge?