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NEED TO KNOW
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May 22nd, 2013
Adventure! We love it; we seek it. And the bigger, the better. If you like a challenge, a thrill or something new, an adventure is just what you need.
Get your adrenaline pumping with these 10 adventures you should have in your lifetime:
BASE jumping off of the New River Gorge Bridge
1. Skydive Without Tandem
Leap from a plane, and do it all by yourself! Most people opt to tandem their first jump. You can try a tandem in the New River Gorge.
But you can also train throughout the day to make your jump solo
. There’s nothing like being able to free fall through the air alone. It’s as calming as it is thrilling.
2. BASE Jump a Major Landmark
Once you’ve done some skydiving, you can try something a little more technical. Try leaping from something other than a plane, like a mountain or a building. There are very few spots to legally BASE jump. One of the most popular is the Kjerag mountain in Norway. It’s even more rare to find a man-made structure you can jump off of. The New River Gorge Bridge
on Bridge Day
is one of the few legal structural jumps in the World.
3. Raft a Top 10 River
You can burst through the pounding waves, paddling your heart out, but you don’t’ know adventure until you’ve taken on the rapids at one of the world’s Top rafting destinations.
Chile, Canada, Australia and Peru all boast raging rivers that put them on the map for whitewater best-of’s, but the U.S. claims a few winners, too. The Gauley River
in the New River Gorge is commonly cited as a Top 10 rafting river, for its fierce “Big 5,” the 5 unique Class V rapids
that sit on its upper stretch, including a waterfall.
4. Kayak or Ducky in Whitewater
Rafting is a blast, and easy to pick up for even the most water-shy, but it’s a whole new level of excitement to steer your own boat
. With no guide calling out commands or team to pull you through, you get to go head-to-head with the waves, just you and your paddle. Roll through the rapids in a nimble whitewater kayak
if you’re daring enough, or try a more sturdy inflatable ducky
for a bit less risk, but all of the extremity. The New River has sections suitable for newbie whitewater boaters as well as challenging runs for the more experienced.
Looking over the New River Gorge during a Bridge Walk
5. Scale a Bridge
The great outdoors has crafted some fabulous outdoor playgrounds, but mankind has structured a few of its own. Bridges, stretching precariously over the water, are a perfect example. There are a few places around the globe where you can scale a famous bridge, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. Bridge Walk
in West Virginia gives you a chance to take the catwalk of the New River Gorge Bridge for the best views of the sweeping landscape.
6. Rappel from a Cliffside
Whether you start from the top or scramble your way up a cliffside, dropping back down hundreds of feet is the most adrenaline-pumping part. Lower yourself as quickly as you please and hurtle toward the ground in a controlled tumble. The New River Gorge
includes several great rappelling spots, as well as great starter and expert climbing routes
7. Climb a Mountain
You don’t have to trek Everest for an exciting climb. There are tons of high mountain peaks to reach across the United States and across the Globe. From quick 5-mile hikes to multi-day journeys, pack up your backpack and hit the trails. In the end, no matter where you’re climbing, you’ll be rewarded with an aerial view you’ve earned.
8. SCUBA Dive an Ocean Reef
Explore the depths of the vast oceans with a swim through its liveliest environments. For the ultimate experience, dive off the coast of Australia and into the Great Barrier Reef
. You’ll need to get a SCUBA certification
, and learn the techniques for safe depth diving. If you aren’t SCUBA-ready, leap on in anyway with a mask and some flippers, and snorkel
the reef’s clear, shallow points for a great view of the vibrant sea life.
9. Snow or Sandboard
Whisk down the wintry slopes or slide down the sandy dunes, keeping your balance and swerving and angling with your body as you pick up speed. You can try the snow sport in the New River Gorge, swerving down our mountain terrain at Winterplace
, then take to the sand on Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes, or abroad.
10. Cliff Diving
Revel in the thrill of the fall, the embracing slam of the water rushing in around you as you slide under, and the relief of that excited breath you take when you swim back to the surface. In the New River Gorge, you can leap off of designated “jump rocks” and cliffs on the New River during a rafting trip
. While it’s not legal other places here, like at Summersville Lake
, cliff jumping is a popular activity across the globe. The World High Diving Federation
has even created a measurement system to calculate the risks of a certain jump.
How many go these thrills have you had? What are you crossing off your list next?
May 14th, 2013
The New River Gorge Bridge might be our favorite bridge of the Gorge, but it’s not, by far, the only one. There are several tucked into these rolling mountains that you should stop and see on your trip.
The Rail Bridge in Thurmond provides a great view of the river.
Here are just a few other bridges you might want to add to your checklist:
Bridge At Thurmond
Among the ruins of this Gorge ghost town, follow the tracks to an old rail bridge. Watch out for traffic, as the bridge still sees the occasional vehicle, but venture out onto the bridge and peer between the grate to get a unique glimpse of the rushing river below.
Glade Creek Trail Footbridge
Crossing over Glade Creek about 3 miles from the New River, this bridge gives you a great view of the kayakers who paddle the creek’s numerous small waterfalls, and leads you toward some of the best fishing in the area. The moderate, 5.6-mile trail snakes along an abandoned railroad.
Bridge to Glade Creek Grist Mill, Babcock State Park
You can argue over what the prettiest sight in the Gorge is, but the Grist Mill holds the crowd favorite crown for most-photographed area in the entire state. From the parking lot, you can cross a small bridge over he creek to the old, still-churning mill. For a unique angle of the bridge, try the view from the underbelly: hop (carefully!) across the natural bridge of rocks across the stream.
Hawk’s Nest Rail Trail Bridges, Hawk’s Nest State Park
Head out from the Hawk’s Nest Nature Center, and bike or walk this easy 1.8-mile gravel path. You’ll cross over two trestles between waterfall sightings. You can use the path to continue down to the riverbed, or circle back on the aerial tram.
Hughes Bridge, Summersville, WV
Taking traffic across the Summersville Lake, the Hughes Bridge gets its name from a historic bridge that once crossed the Gauley River. The views are so spectacular around the bridge that area explorers have stashed many geocaches in the area to encourage you to stop and take a moment to look around and seek them out.
Sandstone Falls Boardwalk
A scenic riverside drive will lead you to a boardwalk and bridge system that spans out into the wilderness, and stretches in front of the cascading Sandstone Falls for a close-up view. The falls are short in height, but they cover more than 1500 feet length-wise. Signs along the boardwalk explain local flora, some of which is rare to see, sprouting up only a few places in the state.
Which off-the-beaten-path Gorge area bridge is your favorite?
May 8th, 2013
Meet the great outdoors! Once you’ve been introduced, you will be friends for life.
Stand up to the aging process by keeping your body fit and sharp as you get older. And get started now, etching the basic skills into your brain so you can pick up your gear 20 years from now and still have fun.
The New River Gorge is the perfect place to learn, practice and master a number of lifelong activities. Which should you choose?
A BASE jumper leaps from the Bridge on Bridge Day
Kayaking can be a great leisure activity, as well s a thrill ride. Many casual kayakers stick to flat water, paddling long distances to observe scenery and wildlife, building up arm strength with strong paddle strokes. And adventure seekers take on whitewater, choosing boats that can cut through the waves, or smaller play boats that allow them to maneuver more easily, doing tricks in the rapids.
Think Long-term: Any body of water can become an adventure. You can strap your boat to the top of your car and seek out new rivers to test out, or dock it at for nearest lake to await you for a spin.
Investment: You will need all the basic gear to get started: a kayak, a paddle, a personal flotation device (PFD) and a helmet. The type of kayak you buy will depend on how you intend to use it, and whitewater kayaking also requires a spray skirt to keep the pounding waves from filling your boat up with water. Or, you could opt for a milder duckie, an inflatable kayak that tips less easily in the rapids.
While it can be pricey up front, if you invest in quality gear, it will last you years. You can find used kayaks for only a few hundred dollars at festivals like Gauley Fest in Summersville. There are different sizes, so you’ll want to know how it is supposed to fit your body and find one that works for you.
Start now: You’ll want to learn basic paddling strokes to control your boat easily in any type of water. For whitewater, you’ll also want to learn to roll the kayak back over if it tips, and how to exit the kayak if you can’t correct it yourself. Learn from the pros and take a lesson or a multi-day clinic at Rolling Waters Kayak School or at ACE Adventure Resort.
An extremely diverse outdoor activity, biking can be as simple as pedaling down a path, or as adventurous as sweeping through rocky mountain terrain.
Think Long-term: They don’t say “It’s just like riding a bike” for nothing! Once you’ve gotten used to pedaling and working the trails, you’ll never have trouble hopping on a cycle and heading out.
You can integrate biking easily into your everyday life. Any point is a good place to start riding. Use it as a mode of transportation if you live in town! Biking makes it easy to get where you’re going without wasting gas (and those prices keep creeping up!)
Investment: A bike and a helmet are all you need to get rolling on a regular basis. Bikes require regular upkeep, but they’re elegantly simple machines that usually only need mild maintenance.
A good bike can last you a lifetime, and it doesn’t have to be a huge expense. A simple bike from a department store or a yard sale can be a great companion for you, or you can invest in a more mountain-ready machine to tackle a wider range of terrains.
Start now:Buy yourself a bike (or just rent one) and get rolling down the New River Gorge’s trail systems! Start with beginner paths, then see if you can handle a rockier road!
Climbing & Rappelling
The sense of accomplishment you feel when you reach the top of a cliffside is unparalleled. You pull through to the finish line, and can look down along the stretch of jagged course you’ve conquered. And, you automatically earn the rewarded of magnificent aerial views, gazing over the wilderness as it stretches into the sunset.
Think Long-term: Because you’re engaging so many muscle groups on a climb, you will strengthen your entire body and build your endurance by progressing to steeper and more technical climbs over time. You can always climb at your own pace, so you will be able to push yourself as needed, or take extra time to conquer new challenges.
Investment: Basic climbing gear is relatively inexpensive compared to other outdoor activities, and it can be very long-lasting. Different types of climbing require different gear. No matter what type of climbing you’re doing, you will definitely want to start with good climbing shoes that fit tightly and will keep you from slipping.
For safety, buy a sturdy harness, a climbing-specific rope and a helmet. (Don’t let the helmet scare you. It’s not that you’re likely to slam against a cliff or fall. The helmet is mostly to protect you from debris that might fall from above you.) You’ll also need some small items, like carabiners, a belay device and quick draws, to help attack the rope to the cliff and to yourself.
Most climbers also recommend a chalk bag, which you can use to keep a firm grip when your hands get sweaty.
Start now: Chat with the knowledgeable staff at Waterstone Outdoors, and let them help you choose the best gear. You will definitely want to work with a knowledgeable guide who can show you the basics before you begin climbing on your own. Take courses from Hard Rock Climbing or New River Mountain Guides.
Skydiving & BASE Jumping
We’re a bit biased, but this is our personal favorite. It’s not as physical as the others on the list, and you won’t get a workout, but the thrill of the descent really gets your adrenaline pumping, and the views are breathtaking no matter how old or young you are.
Think Long-term: Precisely because this activity isn’t as physically demanding, it’s easy to take with you through the years. Once you get the maneuvering down and can jump on your own, you’re set to keep leaping throughout your life.
Investment: Gear for a skydive isn’t cheap, but you get a great discount on student practice jumps. Compare the costs of learning yourself to the amount you’ll pay to keep going with a skydiving guide, and the savings start to add up with each trip. Once you are certified and have what you need, you can jump over and over at a much more affordable rate.
There are major differences in the chutes and equipment you would need for skydiving and BASE jumping. You should always be cautious when buying equipment, and if you buy used, look into the history of the equipment.
Start now: Get leaping with Skydive New River Gorge. Get some experience, and maybe you can leap from the New River Gorge Bridge on Bridge Day!
SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboarding)
Another water sport that’s enjoyable in the waves as well as the flat water, Stand-Up Paddleboarding is a simple activity to learn, and promotes full-body fitness.
Think Long-term: Leisurely paddle around the water for a great workout and views, or test your balance on the waves. You can pop your paddle board on the water anywhere, and it’s easier to transport than a kayak.
Investment: All you need is a PFD, a paddle and a board. Paddleboards are expensive, but can be durable. Longer boards move more swiftly, but shorter boards are easier to maneuver. For beginners, a wider board might offer more stability. No matter what style you choose, be sure to buy a board you can easily carry.
Start now: You can get flat water paddleboarding instruction at Summersville Lake or ACE Lake. It only takes a little guidance to master the basics of this sport! For something more exciting, learn to surf the waves in the New River. Want to make it even more relaxing? Take a SUP yoga class.
We are already excited to be 95 and still enjoying the outdoors. Will we see you out in the Gorge then, too? Which activity are you going to master first?
May 1st, 2013
Hop on your bike and pedal up and down the rugged trails of the New River Gorge!
Get Biking on the New River Trails
Still dragging your feet and tossing out excuses? Here are 5 reasons to stop stalling and get pedaling in the Gorge:
Cycling is Healthy
Pump that heart, tone those muscles and slim down that waistline! Get in that cardio workout from your bike ride, and you’ll also boost coordination, lift your mood, sharpen your brain, charge your immune system. Oh, and lengthen your overall lifespan. What’s not to love about that?
Mountain Biking is Even Healthier
Add some forest scenery, and you’ll supercharge your health benefits from your ride. Upping the ante with a mountain trail can help you double up your workout and burn more than 600 calories per hour.
Variety of Trails for any Skill Level
The New River Gorge is your connection to hundreds of trails and major trail systems, from the smooth graveled paths that weave through the mountains to the root-covered wilderness ground trails that slice up and down them. Challenge yourself with obstacle-laden trails, littered with log piles, bridges and rock gardens.
Unmatched Scenic Views
Get the highs and lows of one of the world’s most beautiful backdrops. Peer out from atop the cliffsides and take in the entirety of the New River Gorge, or dip down and ride through the riverbed, pedaling past long-abandoned coal towns and the wilderness of West Virginia.
It’s a Social Activity
Grab the family for a scenic ride together. Grab your date for a morning getaway into the wilderness. Or grab a friend and challenge each other up and down the mountain slopes. Biking gives you time to chat, and place to go. Try seeking out a geocache together while you’re pedaling through the trails.
Convinced yet? Get pedaling! There’s no reason not to!
April 23rd, 2013
How can you capture the New River Gorge and take it home? With a snapshot, of course.
This well-framed photo has a clear focal point, an uncluttered background and uses “Rule of Thirds.”
But how do you catch all the little details? The way the light spills over each tree? The vibrant hues of the swaying leaves? How would a novice photographer begin to freeze all of those little aspects?
Here are a few tips to get the best photo of the New River Gorge:
The first thing that you’ll want to do is set your white balance. This will allow your camera to recognize the whites in your photo and adjust the color accordingly (because cameras sometimes misjudge it, creating oddly and unrealistically tinted photos.)
The best time of day to take an outdoor photo is near dawn or dusk, when the light isn’t as harsh as it is during the day. If you make sure the sun is gleaming onto your target with this soft “Golden Hour” light, your photo will avoid harsh shadows and contrasts.
Choose one focal point in your photo that will stand out. Instead of aligning it in the center, use the “Rule of Thirds.” Shift it slightly toward either of the four corners, landing 1/3 of the way across, both, horizontally and diagonally. Line skylines along a 1/3 line as well.
Treat your phone like any camera: clean the lens, hold it close to your body to steady the shot, and use manual focus to control which part of the photo looks clear. (You can do this by tapping the screen on an iPhone, or with manual focus apps like Camera Zoom FX on Android.) Avoid zoom if you can, because it significantly decreases the quality of your photo.
While a phone might not have all the tools of a DSLR camera, there are still several handy apps available to provide more options for your shot.
Some fun photography apps include:
- ColorSplash- This app allow you to turn your photos black and white, but preserve color in certain spots to highlight details.
- Photogene- Photogene gives you tons of filters and editing options, including advanced options like sharpening, dodge and burn and several color correction adjustment tools. It also connects easily to social media, and includes drawing and collage making features, so you can create playful pictures and easily share them.
- Firestorm- With an impressive array of tools, including the ability to use Adjustment Layers as you edit and a clone stamp tool, this app is close to being a Photoshop for your phone.
- The Photographer’s Ephemeris- This app uses your GPS coordinates and sun and moon mapping to help you plan the lighting of your shots.
- Photaf- A simple tool that allows you to align several photos to create a panoramic shot from your cell.
Great places to practice can be found all over the Gorge, but you might want to take a day making these scenic drives to stop at several beautiful spots to collect different shots.
If you’re looking to learn more about photography, there is an Outdoor & Nature Photography Workshop in Fayetteville on May 2, 2013 with Pro photographer David FitzSimmons.
What’s your best tip for taking photos of the Gorge? What’s your best shot so far?
April 18th, 2013
You already know about Bridge Day’s efforts to go green and reduce waste. In 2013, we’ll implement another initiative that will make a difference.
Here’s our official press release about our new partnership with Green Paper Products:
April 16, 2013- In 2013, for the first time in its 34 year history, Bridge Day will require all food vendors to serve hot and cold drinks, not sold in bottles or cans, in compostable drink containers. According to Sharon Cruikshank, Bridge Day vendor coordinator, “Bridge Day is committed to helping reduce environmental waste and promoting sustainability”.
Going green helps the Gorge!
To help convert all Bridge Day vendors to compostable products, Bridge Day is teaming up with Green Paper Products, an American company, to provide any hot or cold cups the vendors will use on Bridge Day free of charge. Green Paper Products will also make available any additional paper products vendors wish to purchase at a discounted price.
“We are excited to be able to take another step forward in our efforts to reduce the footprint of Bridge Day”, stated Cindy Dragan, Bridge Day Chair. As West Virginia’s largest one-day festival, Bridge Day can bring attention to the importance of environmental stewardship. By requiring compostable drink containers, selling 100% recycled, sustainable shirts provided by Sustain U and recycling with the efforts of our local Boy Scout Troops and the Fayetteville Green Team, Bridge Day feels we continue to move in the right direction.
What does this mean for you, the vendor? It is simple. You decide how many hot and cold cups, and lids, 12 or 16 oz. you think you will need for Bridge Day and with the help of Green Paper Products we will have them for you on Bridge Day morning. Green Paper Products will also be offering a 5% discount and 30% shipping discount on all of their other compostable products to all Bridge Day vendors.
To take the initiative one step further, we will have special green star recognition for those vendors that use all compostable paper products. This will include a special sign on your booth and special designation on the Bridge Day app.
Steps for Bridge Day food vendors to order cups:
• Decide how many 12 and 16 oz hot and cold cups and lids you need.
• Call 800-927-0263 and let us know what that number is. (We will have these cups for you on Bridge Day morning.)
Steps to become a Bridge Day Green Star food vendor:
• Go to www.GreenPaperProducts.com and find the compostable products you are interested in.
• Call 800-927-0263 and we will give you the code that will allow you to purchase products at a 5% discount with a 30% discount on shipping
Bridge Day is looking forward to working with you and Green Paper Products to reduce environment waste and promote sustainability while providing the best products and experience for our guests.
If you have questions please call 800-927-0263.
April 16th, 2013
Have you peered over the New River Gorge Bridge on Bridge Day to see the stunning wilderness below? This Earth Day, in the spirit of keeping that breathtaking sight as pristine and unbridled as it is today for years to come, we’re bringing together nature lovers for a weekend of appreciating, preserving and enjoying the New River Gorge.
Landscape from the New River Gorge Bridge
Join in the fun and make it a weekend with the 10th Annual New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend and the New River Earth Day Celebration!
Fall in love with the bold colors of spring as you learn more about each bright bloom. Hike through Grandview, Little Beaver State Park, Pipestem State Park, Babcock State Park, and Hawk’s Nest State Park with guided tours for Wildflower Weekend. You can also stroll around the iconic Grist Mill for a birding excursion.
After you’ve taken in the scenery of the Gorge, enjoy artistic interpretations at Tamarack. Local student work will be showcased, and performers will sing and perform the praises of springtime in the New River Gorge. You can even create your own art in the garden.
Show your love for local businesses by buying foods and crafts from the vendors at the Earth Day festival. Take home growing potted plants, handcrafted jewelry, natural beauty products and more from the market.
Give back to the Gorge for the visual treats it cultivates for us. Rid the wildflowers of pesky weeds that keep them from thriving at the garlic mustard pull Friday morning. Park staff will help you find the invasive plants and tug them up.
Learn more about taking green practices home with you year-round at the Earth Day celebration booths. Kids can collect stamps for each informational activity they complete, which can enter them into a raffle for great prizes. Adults can win great raffle prizes, too, including outdoor adventures and free meals from local restaurants.
You can also bring used items to the festival for reuse: bring your spring cleaning items in for the swap shop, your unused pantry items for local food banks, and old batteries, cell phones, paper, plastics and metals for the recycling drop-offs. Ask friends and family to contribute, too.
More than pretty, the Gorge is a playground for BASE jumpers, rafters, climbers and adventurers of all sorts. Get the bird’s eye from above as you sweep from tree to tree on a zipline, or trace the underbelly of the bridge with a BridgeWalk tour. Get out and try a fun new outdoor activity with your family, or just take time to try different spots to gaze out over the Gorge.
There will also be all sorts of games and contests for everyone to enjoy at the Earth Day festival. Entertainment will liven up the streets, races and games will draw in crowds to play, and the kids will have their own fun zone to jump around in.
How are you celebrating Earth Day?
April 9th, 2013
For those tech-savvy outdoor lovers who like to wander, to seek, to explore and discover, there’s a game in the Gorge calling your name.
It’s called geocaching, and it combines hiking, technology, story-sharing and keepsake trinkets into a family-fun activity.
Visit the old town of Thurmond while searching for a geocache.
The game is simple:
• You look up a cache point on the geocaching website, copy the coordinates into GPS
• Hike out to the location. Hidden there will be a container of some sort, filled with random items left by other geocachers. The object of the game is to find the hidden container.
• If you find the cache, you swap out one of your own items with the ones in the box, earning your own memento of the trip and leaving a token for the next person who uncovers the box.
• You log online that you’ve found the cache, and share a little bit about your journey.
There are hundreds of caches stashed away in the Gorge, marking little hideaways you may have otherwise missed. That’s what’s so wonderful about caching— it connects explorers who track down paths less discovered, then allows them to share the journey with other wanderers, like you.
And where better to wander than the New Rover Gorge, one of the most beautiful places on earth? Here are a few suggested beginner caches to get you started:
Beauty Mountain Overlook
Hike 4-miles along rocky terrain and twisted roots to see the views of your life— scenic overlooks and tucked away waterfalls dot the trail and leave lots of room to explore on your way to the cache.
The Spy Rock Cache
The first in a series of Civil War cache hunts, this easy trail will lead you to interesting background about battle tactics of the period.
The Whipple Company Store
Not all faces will lead you deep into the wilderness. This hide, part of an official “Haunted Challenge” of 20 creepy locations, leads cachers just outside the Whipple Company Store. The heritage museum was once the only resource for coal miners and their families.
Coal Heritage Geotrail #9
Also part of a larger series of Geocahes, this slightly more difficult but short, 1-mile trek follows the Thurmond-Minden Trail, one of several near the ghost town of Thurmond. You can stop off and see the Thurmond Train Depot and explore the remains of the old coal town.
What cache catches your attention?
April 2nd, 2013
Covered in jagged cliffs of rough sandstone, the New River Gorge has more than 1,000 rock climbing faces, a paradise for both new and experienced climbers.
With so many rocks to scale, where should you start? Here are a few areas to go to get a full day of great climbs:
As its name implies, this section of the Gorge actually includes several climbing routes stretched along a snaking rock wall. There are simple, beginner-friendly and expert-level climbs interwoven throughout the cliff face.
Rock Climbing in the New River Gorge
This spot offers an escape from the harsh summer sun, shaded by the north-facing cliffsides. But this also means it stays wet and slick after a day of downpour. These aren’t beginners paths, though: most of the more than 100 paths here require technical skill and a lot of power.
With some of the best overviews of the New River Gorge, Beauty Mountain also includes several of the highest and most difficult Gorge climbing routes.
Here you can find a multitude of beginners’ routes, with several anchors in place. This is where many guides take new climbers out to learn and practice, so the area can get busy during the tourism season. The Cave Routes are a common starter climb, but the area does feature some rougher climbs for the more experienced.
The area surrounding the Summersville Lake at the mouth of the raging Gauley River boasts hundreds of climbing cliffs, most easily accessed via boat or by the lake. When the dam releases water into the river and the levels lower in the fall, more routes open up by foot.
If you don’t have your own equipment, and if you’ve never been climbing, no worries. There are plenty of guides available to help you get started, or point you to the best climbs.
Get harnessed up! Which rocks are you scaling first?
March 26th, 2013
The winter landscapes of the New River Gorge have been slowly blossoming into a vibrant, floral rainbow! Time to hit the trails.
Aside from taking a BridgeWalk and strolling atop the New River, there are tons of paths to wind into the woods to explore the springtime foliage. Here are a few favorites:
Spring hiking is just around the corner.
Moderate, 1.6 mi
One of the favorite views of the locals, Long Point reaches a cliffside overlook that spans all the way to the New River Gorge Bridge. Climb out onto the massive hanging rocks for the perfect portrait of the entire vast canyon. You can also see the ongoing “endless wall” of cliffside that stretches across the rim of the Gorge.
Difficult, .86 mi
For a challenge, take on the steep rocks of the Bridge Trail. Climb the rugged terrain directly below the bridge to get the close-up complement to the aerial views you see from Bridge Day.
Easy, 1 mi
If you want the view without the workout, stroll the boardwalk at Sandstone Falls. In addition to a 1500-foot-wide wall of cascading waterfalls, you can stop along at overlooks or take a short loop off the boardwalk to see rare plant life you won’t find on the other trails, or elsewhere in the Gorge.
Easy, 5.6 mi
Take along a fishing pole to stop along the streamside trail of Glade Creek. Cross over the water on the footbridge, and marvel at all the waterfalls that spill down along the trail.
What’s your favorite New River Gorge springtime trail?