New River Gorge

Located in the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia, New River Gorge National River was established in 1978 as a unit of the national park system “for the purpose of conserving and interpreting outstanding natural, scenic, and historic values and objects in and around the New River Gorge and preserving as a free-flowing stream an important segment of the New River in West Virginia for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.”

The park encompasses over 72,808 acres of
deep canyons along 53 miles of the rugged, white water New River from Bluestone Dam to Hawks Nest State Park. The arae is rich in cultural and natural history and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.

Drive Description
Scenic Driving West Virginia

Twisting, switching back, and descending 1,000 feet from the canyon rim to the river, this 16-mile drive follows t he old highway into the gorge of the New River, crosses the river, climbs up the other side ofthe gorge, and crosses the modern New River Gorge Bridge 876 feet above the river. It ends at the Cayon Rim Visitor Center of the New River Gorge National River. The drive is not suitable for RVs or large vehicles.

Bridge Day

The third Saturday in October is the one day of the year when the bridge highway is open to foot traffic.

"You will have to share the road with more than a quarter of a million other visitors who come to watch the rappellers and parachutists drop over the side," notes Su Clauson-Wicker in 
Scenic Routes and Byways
West Virginia.

Music, food, crafts and guided walks are part of the festivities. Sponsored by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, Bridge Day is Wester Virginia's largest festival.

A Truck Passing over the New River Gorge Bridge

A Truck Passing over the New River Gorge Bridge

Scenic Routes and Byways West Virginia
Scenic Routes and Byways
West Virginia

by Su Clauson-Wicker
GPP Travel, 2013

Compiled by freelance writer and travel editor Su Clauson-Wicker, the second edition of this driving guide updates Scenic Driving West Virginia by Bruce Sloane, published in 2002.

Although it is a relatively small state, West Virginia's weather has a wide range of variation across four very distinct seasons. Each drive has its preferred travel season in this book, from the peak bloom of rhodendrons to the best viewing of waterfalls; some drives are not recommended in winter.

"The scenic drives in this book were selected to display the most interesting scenic, historical and unique features of diverse sections of the state," notes 
Clauson-Wicker. "It's only a slight exaggeration to say that every road in West Virginia is a scenic road. Even the Interstates are beautiful, and every road in the Monongahela, George Washington, and Jefferson National Forests is a scenic road."

Cheat River
The Cheat River is one of West Virginia's "Big Three" whitewater rafting rivers. "The Cheat can be run year-round, but it is most popular in late spring when snowmelt from mountains to the south brings the highest water levels. The wildest section of the Cheat, the Canyon, begins north of Kingwood and runs through remote, roadless country to Cheat Lake, and its dam, near Morgantown."

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