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The New River Gorge

When you walk out onto The New River Gorge Bridge during Bridge Day, you’ll be standing over one of the oldest river gorges on Earth. By most accounts, the New River Gorge is about 345 million years old. That makes it the top contender for being the first river in North America.

The New River Gorge in West Virginia averages between 700 and 1300 feet deep. The gorge was formed solely due to erosion; there were no glaciers in the area like those that carved our similar gorges in other parts of the world. This part of the gorge is characterized by steep walls, huge boulders, and an exposed cliff band along the gorge’s rim.

The river itself is steep for its size. In the 85 miles of New River in West Virginia, the river drops a total of 850 feet on average. Most of that gradient is concentrated right here in the gorge. It’s the drop in elevation that makes for the New River’s outstanding whitewater.

One very unique feature of the river is its course. The new river flows north (which is not in itself unusual) and bisects the entire Appalachian mountain range, literally separating north from south.

The New River Gorge is a lot of things. Wilderness. Park. Vacation. Home. It has a special meaning for everyone who visits. We have Bridge Day to celebrate all of them.