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New River Gorge National River
In southern West Virginia, from Hinton to Fayetteville
New River protects 53 mi of free-flowing waterway. The 71,000-acre park and surroundings are rich in cultural and natural history and contain an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities. The New River is one of the most renowned fishing streams in the state and offers premier white-water boating. The river, one of the oldest on the continent, has cut a deep gorge that exposes rocks 330 million years old and harbors rare plants. The site was authorized on November 10, 1978.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, mountain biking (rentals in Fayetteville), picnicking, recreational climbing, white-water canoeing (rentals in Hinton). Facilities: 4 visitor centers: Canyon Rim (U.S. 19, 2 mi north of Fayetteville), Thurmond Depot (Rte. 25, 7 mi from the Glen Jean exit of U.S. 19), Grandview (Rte. 9, 6 mi north of 1-64 Exit 129B), Sandstone (at 1-64 Exit 139); amphitheater, boardwalk, hiking trails. Bookstores, picnic shelters, tables, and fire grates. Programs & Events: Ranger-led walks, hikes, bike rides, and slide shows. Guided walks, hikes, and mountain bikes (all May-Oct.). New River Train (Oct., tel. 304/453-1451), New River Gorge Bridge Pedestrian Day (3rd Sat., Oct.). Tips & Hints: The park is very long and narrow, with several access points into the gorge, rather than one main entrance. Book white-water rafting trips on Sundays or weekdays to get discounts and avoid Saturday crowds. Narrow, winding, one-lane roads require driving with passenger-side wheels on the shoulder when meeting oncoming traffic. Some park roads are unsuitable for large recreational vehicles. Stay off CSX railroad property that runs through park. Go Apr, May, Sept. and Oct. for cool, crisp weather; mid-May for Grand-view rhododendron blooms; late June-early July for wild rhododendron blooms; Apr-Sept, for peak bird migrations; mid-Oct. for peak fall foliage. Busiest July and Aug., least crowded Jan. and Feb.
Camping: 4 campgrounds in the park: Army Camp (11 sites; free; pit toilets, no water), Glade Creek (5 sites; free; pit toilets, no water), Grandview Sandbar (16 sites; free; pit toilets, no water), Stone Cliff (10 sites; free; pit toilets, no water). Backcountry camping allowed. See Bluestone National Scenic River.
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Free. Picnic shelter and group camping area reservation and fees (tel. 304/465-6517 Burnwood and Dunglen; tel. 304/465-8064 Grandview). West Virginia state fishing license required. Hunting on federally owned lands within the park only, except at Grandview and Burnwood. No trapping. No recreational climbing at Grandview. Leashed pets only. Horses or pack animals on designated trails only. Swimming and wading not recommended because of strong currents and undercut rocks. No alcohol at park headquarters, Dunglen, Grandview, and Stonecliff. Bikes on designated trails only. Park open daily. Canyon Rim Visitor Center open daily 9-5. Thurmond Depot Visitor Center open Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily 9-5; intermittent weekend hours in spring and fall. Grandview Visitor Center open Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily 9-5. Sandstone Visitor Center open daily 9-5.
HOW TO GET THERE
The river is one hour (65 mi) east of Charleston and 20 minutes (30 mi) from Beckley. Its accessible from the West Virginia Tpke., 1-64 and 77, and U.S. 19 and 60. Closest airports: Beckley (30 mi), Charleston (65 mi).
New River Gorge National River (Box 246, Glen Jean, WV 25846, tel. 304/465-0508, fax 304/465-0591). Southern West Virginia Convention & Visitor Bureau, (200 Main St., Beckley, WV 25801, tel. 800/847-4898, fax 304/252-2252). West Virginia State Chamber of Commerce (90 McCorkle Ave. SW, South Charleston, WV 25303, tel. 800/225-5982). Fayette County Chamber of Commerce (310 Oyler Ave., Oak Hill, WV 25901, tel. 800/927-0263). West Virginia Travel Council (Box 50312, 2101 Washington St. E, Charleston, WV 25305-0317, tel. 800/225-5982).
New River Gorge National River. Detailed information for visitors about the New River Gorge National River In southern West Virginia, from Hinton to Fayetteville