The National Park System is really America’s greatest concept, giving people the possibility to discover historic websites, battlefields, memorials, monuments, and 63 nationwide parks throughout the nation. From the geological wonders and wildlife at Yellowstone National Park, America’s first protected park, to waterfalls and large slabs of granite at Yosemite National Park, to colourful bands that illustrate tens of millions of years of geologic historical past at Grand Canyon National Park, individuals from around the globe have been adventuring in probably the most gorgeous landscapes this nation has to supply. Now, there’s a brand new child on the block, the primary one within the nice state of West Virginia: New River Gorge National Park.
West Virginia is house to elements of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, a foot path that stretches greater than 2,100 miles between Maine and Georgia; the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, which cuts by means of 16 states for 4,900 miles; the Bluestone National Scenic River; and Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. Now, over 70,000 acres of land, bordering 53 miles of the gorge, has earned the federal government’s safety. The New River Gorge Nationwide River, established in 1978, is now, as of 2021, safeguarded as New River Gorge Nationwide Park and Protect.
Dwelling to the New River, which drops 750 ft over 66 miles, adventuresome rafters and kayakers have lengthy been drawn to this whitewater space for its class 5 rapids. The New River, which flows northward by means of low-cut canyons within the Appalachian Mountains, is definitely one of many oldest rivers on the planet.
Mountaineering on the canyon partitions, mountain biking and climbing on trails that flank the river, and wildlife viewing—bald eagles, osprey, kingfishers, nice blue herons, beavers, river otters, wild turkeys, brown bats, snakes, and black bears—are all well-liked actions throughout the park.
Start your expertise with a cease at Canyon Rim Visitor Center, which is located on the sting of the gorge, for maps, present data, and chats with a park ranger. You possibly can be taught any pertinent security protocols and go to the bookstore.
You’ll wish to see the New River Gorge Bridge, a extremely photographed work of structural artwork. In the event you plan it excellent, you possibly can go to throughout Bridge Day, a one-day competition the place you’ll watch BASE jumpers launch off the 876-foot bridge and parachute right down to the New River. New River Gorge is the one nationwide park within the U.S. that allows this excessive exercise.
Lengthy distance hikers will love collaborating within the New River Gorge 100 Mile Challenge, which started as a approach to honor 100 years of the Nationwide Park Service. Cease within the Sandstone or Canyon Rim Customer Facilities and decide up a logbook for monitoring your miles. When you’ve completed 100 miles, you’ll earn a coveted decal.
Bonus: canines can hike together with you and likewise earn a particular label. Trails will be discovered within the Grand View, Glade Creek, Sandstone Brooks, Fayetteville, Thurmond, and Nuttallburg areas.
An enlightening approach to discover the park is thru a guided ranger-led exercise the place you’ll see various ecosystems all through the park, together with at Grandview overlook, Sandstone Falls and Glade Creek.
Go to this spring and revel in Wildflower Weekend, a free family-friendly guided hike. Plan an outing for the Hidden History Weekend, a complimentary celebration of southern West Virginia’s historical past. Take a look at the Youth Arts in the Parks programming to encourage your brood to look deeper on the world round and create artwork to mirror what they see and expertise. And identical to in all the nationwide parks, youngsters can change into stewards of the setting by changing into Junior Rangers.