America’s greatest gift to its people and its landscapes is the idea of National Parks; thousands of acres of land designated to nature and preserved for generations to admire.
Amidst these awe-inspiring national parks is the breathtaking New River Gorge National Park, spread across 70,000 acres of land, home to one of the oldest rivers in the States. Southern West Virginia’s New River Gorge sits between the Appalachian Mountains and treats its visitors with rich history, generous cultures, and impressive views.
If you’re someone who finds natural beauty food for one’s soul and is driven by the abundance of scenery and recreational opportunities, nothing should stop you from putting this destination on your next vacation list.
To make sure you don’t miss out on anything while you set foot on nature’s treasure, we have brought you the must-not-miss on this quest. Plunge right into it!
New River Gorge Bridge
The overhead that made the jewel get its charm! Famous for previously being the world’s first longest steel arch bridge, the magnificent structure of the New River Gorge Bridge was constructed to cross the New River. Located north of Fayetteville in West Virginia, the bridge is 3,030 ft long and 876 ft high.
Being one of the most photographed places in West Virginia, the Gorge Bridge has a lot more on the plate for you besides the glimpse of New River from well above.
A few miles north of the town of Hinton in West Virginia, a generously gushing waterfall awaits you. With varied rock formations, unique carvings of hollows, and conglomerate rocks, the sandstone falls serve as a sight to behold.
Although there is no vantage point that lets you enjoy 1500 feet wide falls in one sight, there are many close overlooks serving views downstream that can be accessed from a series of trails or boardwalks. Of the many, visitors’ famous and the most accessible trail leading to Sandstone Falls has been The Island Loop Trail, an easy half a mile route.
Kaymoor Miners Trail
Here comes the National Park’s historical beauty! Kaymoor Miners Trail is an out-and-back strenuous yet adventurous trail that takes you to one of the New River Gorge's many historic coal mine tailings. Starting from the parking area, this forest trail descends steeply 0.5 miles and meets Kaymoor trail where the relics of the Kaymoor coal mine site can be seen. Make sure to absorb the rich mining history while you cross 800 wooden stairs to witness the remnants of the coal site.
As the name says, here you find the diamond of your quest! Honestly speaking, there are no doubts when we say this point serves out-worldly views of above, below and far distance. Take your time to absorb the sights from this point, appreciate the man-made creation of the New River Gorge Bridge in the distance, and hear streams of water rushing down below.
The point with priceless views can be reached through an easy 1 mile long Diamond Point Trail loop joining from the Fern Creek Parking area.
Glade Creek Grist Mill
One of the world’s most photographed sites, the Glade Creek Grist Mill in West Virginia’s state icon that changes its views to you all four seasons. Built on a rock wall with a mountain stream, the weathered mill has a backdrop that brings people from far and wide areas to get those instagrammable aesthetics.
But wait, did we say fall colors aren’t the only playing card for the destination? Well, hard to believe, but this unimaginative picturesque mill is actually operational and during work hours, you can actually take a tour to witness corn being ground into cornmeal.
Located in Babcock State Park, the stunning scenery is 20 miles southeast of New River Gorge Bridge.
Of many things shaped beautifully by nature’s forces, West Virginia is abundant with sights of uniquely weathered rocks. Among these structures are the famous Ship Rocks, formations that get their name from their shape.
A 0.7 miles long Ship Rock Loop Trail takes you through lush forest and carves your way to Berkeley, a sight to a rock calved from a cliff of Raleigh Sandstone, on the edge of the Piney Creek Gorge. For many decades now, the location has been a safe and peaceful picnic point.
New River Birding & Nature Center
No landscape is complete without exploring its plants and wildlife. To catch a sight of West Virginia’s distinctive species, a secret to nature and science is the New River Birding & Nature Center.
The spot, abundant with migrating birds, overflowing plants, and active wildlife, is an environmental education center blooming all four seasons to give locals and visitors an outdoor observatory of natural and scenic resources. The Center also features Wetland Boardwalk and Woodland Trails as access to the habitat.
This trip is your chance to leave the interstate destinations behind and hop on the drive to explore West Virginia 180 miles across the midsection. This scenic byway follows US Route 60 and offers an outlook of New River Gorge and Hawks Nest State Park’s breathtaking sceneries.
Stunning panoramas, world-class rafting, the oldest golf course, outdoor activities, artistic treasures, and early heritage are just a few of the draws you can experience on this getaway.
Hinton Railroad Museum
Located in downtown Hinton, this museum takes you back to the golden era of Chesapeake and Ohio Railways rushing through the state where the river runs through. With model trains, railway uniforms, artifacts from the past, and exhibits of the heroes, the museum portrays the railroad history of Hinton and Summer County.
Long Point Overlook
A viewpoint to the engineering marvel of the beautiful New Gorge River Bridge and the spectacular river flowing down below, the Long Point Overlook is a famous attraction that no one should miss.
Surely the best overlook of New River Gorge National Park, the point can be accessed through a 3 mile Long Point Loop Trail making your way into the quintessential view while passing through a rich forest possessing Hemlock, Pine, and Deciduous trees as your company.
A nice treat to your adventurous and pleasure-seeking self! Plan your next visit to this diverse attraction and fulfill your craving with the fabulous topography of New River Gorge National Park.