From the pages of I RVing: Spring 2023

New River george national Park American vista

IN LUSH SHADE COOLED BY WHITEWATER The great, green New River Gorge hugs the land. An elemental masterpiece that is all stone and tree and water, it is full of the sound of the river and bright displays of natural life, across a landscape that’s as unchanging as granite. The New River Gorge is a perfect paradox:

our newest national park and one of the world’s oldest rivers. Home to harsh rapids and lazy riverbanks closed forest canopies, and revelatory summits, the gorge fears no contradiction. It welcomes RVers with the confidence of an old host meeting a new guest.

Mystical Views from the Bridge.

Arching its back high above the ancient river, fogs pass beneath the New River Gorge Bridge the way kids walk through a parent’s legs. Seeing it never gets old, whether you’re hiking by, driving over, or being guided under it (on the steel catwalk).

Nearest Parking Lot Coordinate

38° 4’ 12” N
81° 5’ 46” W

A Serene Moment at Sandstone Falls

The wonder of Sandstone Falls is not its great height (the water only drops 15 to 25 feet). What awes the eye is the span: 1,500 feet across. Hiking the boardwalk and Island Loop Trail is a stunning nature show that only takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Nearest Parking Lot Coordinate

37° 45’ 33” N
80° 54’ 19” W

On a Mountain Named Beauty

The sharp V-shaped contour of the New River Gorge is never more evident— and arresting than when viewed from above. From the cliffs and boulders of Beauty Mountain, you can survey it all. But be advised: The nearby Kenney Creek Rail Trail is currently closed.

Nearest Parking Lot Coordinate

38° 2’ 41” N
81° 1’ 27” W

Make Spring a splash as you plunge into the heart of whitewater country.

One of the most distinctive things about the nation’s newest 73,000-acre park is that all the campsites are primitive. (Although there are full hookups outside the park itself.) The park roads can be narrow too. As you drive, you’ll experience considerable drops and rises in elevation—one of the things that make the park a hotspot for whitewater rafting.

In the Spring, snow runoff and seasonal rains fill the New River to the brim—so that it overflows with opportunities for adrenaline seekers. The waters also spawn an explosion of wildflowers, from violets to trout lilies. Ten species of bat live here, as well as white-tailed deer, peregrine falcons, and the weirdly wonderful hellbenders—large salamanders that haunt streambeds. So lots for the kids to discover once you’ve put it in the park.


Brad and Cary took the guided tour into the steel catwalk that runs beneath the bridge. We loved this pic from Instagram at @hobbnobb.wanderings. Note that they’re strapped in. (Safety first!)

“Today we did the BRIDGE WALK across the New River Gorge, WV!! 3,100 ft. long walking underneath the road on the inspection walkway).”



Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top