We visited the New River Gorge (near Beckley, WV) this past October. In addition to the bridge and scenery, we were hoping to see fall colors and the full moon. We had perfect weather for the scenery and full moon, but the colors were just starting to appear when we got there. We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and left on Thursday morning.
We will provide more detail about each location in individual posts, but the park itself encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along 53 miles of the New River, from Bluestone Dam (just south of Hinton, WV) to Hawk’s Nest Lake (about 33 miles to the north). The park has two major visitor centers: Sandstone to the south and Canyon Rim (adjacent to the bridge) in the north. From south to north, features in the park we visited include:
- Sandstone Falls: A fully accessible boardwalk leads to river-level views of the largest falls on the New River.
- Sandstone Visitor Center: Serves as a gateway to the southern portion of the New River Gorge National River.
- Grandview: The Main Overlook is nearly 1400 feet above the river and there are two others in the Grandview area:
- Turkey Spur Overlook
- North Overlook.
I took photographs at the Main Overlook multiple times:
- Beauty Mountain Trail: Although not part of the park’s infrastructure, there are some very nice views of the gorge from this trail near Edmond, WV that overlooks the park.
- Canyon Rim Visitor Center and Fayette Station Road: The Visitor Center has nice interpretative displays about the economy of the area and the construction of the bridge. There are several overlooks for the New River Gorge Bridge and views of the the gorge south of the bridge at the Visitor Center.
- Fayette Station Road is a seven mile long switchback road that starts and ends at Rt. 19. One end is south of the bridge and the other end is north of the bridge near the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. It was the only way to cross the New River near Fayetteville, WV until the New River Gorge Bridge was built. A 45 minute trip then became 45 seconds. Along this road, that passes under the bridge three times, there are several overlooks and good viewing locations of the bridge.
New River Gorge National River – Park Map (6.7 MB PDF) – large version of the featured image.