May 22, 2024


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Jump into America’s Newest National Park: New River Gorge

Due to the December COVID-19 stimulus deal, currently the National Park Provider supplies gold typical economical assist to a part of West Virginia’s New River Gorge, offering entire world-course rock climbing, rafting, climbing, and mountain biking. The New River Gorge is the America’s 63rd Countrywide Park.

In late 2020, Congress approved converting 7,021 acres in the center of the 73,000-acre New River Gorge Maintain into a National Park, with the stimulus package improving upon services to support an approximated 20 % maximize in tourism. The funding also supports the purchase of 100 acres from nearby landowners for trail access and enhanced parking. The remaining 65,000 acres in the Protect are selected for backcountry hunting.

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Situated in the southeastern corner of West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains, the park is within just a five-hour generate to significant cities: Charlotte, NC Louisville, KY Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C.

“In 2020, we had an explosion of visitation right here,” says Kenny Parker, operator and operator of the specialty climbing store and guideline provider Waterstone Outdoor in Fayetteville, West Virginia. “Getting Nationwide Park standing will add additional fuel to the fire.”


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Today’s yearly visitation to the “New” consists of 1 million people, numerous coming for out of doors adventures and scenic drives. The Gorge contains extra than 50 miles of whitewater up to Course V. It also contains 1,400 climbing routes (each sport and historically safeguarded) on bullet-really hard sandstone. The New York Periods reports routes in this article “rank amongst the greatest in the East Coast for rock climbing.” New River Gorge also incorporates 13 miles of freshly built mountain bike trails.

Climbing in New River Gorge National Park
Matt Childers

Climbing at New River Gorge

In 1978, the Section of the Interior specified the New River Gorge a nationwide river. Rapidly, whitewater rafting place the New on the map. Climbing quickly adopted in the 1980s. Climbing is what brought Parker to the space where he’s authored hundreds of initially ascents. Due to the large measurement of the park and under no circumstances-ending cliffsides, he compares it to Yosemite Valley in grandeur. “In the early days, no one particular understood climbing was heading on right here,” he suggests. “Today, climbing is the biggest user team.”

Parker credits the popularity of the climbing at the New with a spillover of the numerous climbing fitness centers popping up in encompassing states. Though, with few novice routes in the Gorge, he claims the New is greatest suited for reasonable to skilled climbers. “The rock is persistently excellent and it’s as tough as granite. And it’s as assorted as it will get: steep faces, slabs, super overhanging, roofs, cracks of just about every width.”

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“I think it’s the very best cragging (single-pitch routes) in the region that I have been to,” claims regional climber Matt Childers. “I like Fayetteville and it’s in the vicinity of and expensive to my coronary heart. I think these adjustments are a great point that will be fantastic for the financial state.”

April by way of June, and October by means of December is greatest for rock climbing. Winter season months and early spring bring large rain, and summers are as well warm, but then it’s excellent for whitewater rafting and mountain biking.

Rafting, Foundation jumping, and mountain biking

Rafting in New River Gorge National Park
Courtesy of Jay Younger/Adventures on the Gorge

7 rafting outfitters operate in the New, which include the greatest, Adventures on the Gorge, which also offers a restaurant, cabins, zip strains, guided whitewater rafting, climbing/rappelling, and fishing.

Boating in the New features 53 miles of free-flowing water. The upper part (southern geographically) gives mostly tranquil drinking water and open up swimming pools with rapids up to Class III. The decreased (northern), identified as Decreased Gorge, has Course III-V whitewater with “colossal rapids,” claims NPS. Rafting season extends from April to October.


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Rafting in New River Gorge National Park
Courtesy of Jay Younger/Adventures on the Gorge

West Virginia’s most significant competition is the once-a-year Foundation-leaping celebration Bridge Day, which normally takes position on the third Saturday in October. In 2019 (pre-COVID), it attracted 100,000 people. That yr, 300 jumpers leaped 876 feet from the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville. That is in addition to the 900 adventurers who rappelled to the ground. Many others chose zip-lining from the steel span, using the line 700 toes down from the bridge catwalk to Fayette Station Highway.

Mountain biking in the New contains the 12.8-mile Arrowhead Trails, a stacked looped system crafted by 1,000 Boy Scouts in 2011. Their effort bundled 78,544 volunteer several hours. According to, the hard work was “one of the biggest youth company projects in National Park Services history.”