Bridge Country Earns "Best of the Blue Ridge" Distinctions
Each year, Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine highlights the best of the Blue Ridge mountains, including Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. We are proud to say the New River Gorge area was awarded 6 “Best Of” Awards and 11 Runner Up Awards.
These 17 titles were:
Best River: New River
Known as one the 5 oldest rivers in the world, the New River is still full of surprises as it winds its way through West Virginia. Many visitors come to the bottom of the gorge to see the scenic views and take a dip in the cool waters. A major highlight of the New River is its class III-IV rapids, which are used recreationally by whitewater rafters every year.
Best Outfitter: Adventures on the Gorge
If you’re looking for an outfitter that supplies you with everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors, look no further than Adventures on the Gorge. They will make sure you’re well-equipped for any adventure you’re after, including mountain biking, caving, whitewater rafting, ziplining and more.
Best Climbing Guide: Elaina Arenz
Having spent more than 20 years climbing, Arenz is a professional with a passion. She is the founder of the New River Mountain Guides in Fayetteville, W.Va., where she instructs others as the head guide. Climbers everywhere view her as an icon for her numerous first ascents and also her first female ascents across North America.
Best Restaurant: Pies and Pints
Amazing pizza and craft beer! The best is served here at this local restaurant. You can take a break from the fun you’re having in the gorge and enjoy a special meal at the original Pies and Pints. There are grilled wings and other appetizers to start you out, multiple beer selections to quench your thirst, and many gourmet pizzas to choose from!
Best Paddling Event & Wildest Outdoor Event: GauleyFest
Receiving 2 awards is the fun and exciting GauleyFest. It started in 1983 as a way to celebrate the end of a hydroelectric project that had the potential to disrupt the flow of the Gauley River. This event has now grown to be one of the biggest paddling festivals in the world, where people can get involved with the whitewater rapids and fun activities, such as live music and beer!
The titles don’t stop there. Many runner ups were awarded as well! These 11 runner ups stand out in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and showcase how much the New River Gorge area has to offer:
- Best Climbing Mecca: New River Gorge
- Best Raft Guide Company: ACE
- Best Climbing Guide Company: Adventures on the Gorge
- Best Zipline: Treetops Canopy Tour
- Best Sports Festival: Bridge Day
- Best Paddling Event: SUP New River Race
- Best Outdoor Hangout: Cathedral Cafe
- Best Burger: Secret Sandwich Society
- Best Climbing Event: AAC Craggin Classic
- Best SUP Spot: Summersville Lake
What do you think Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine should consider for their list next year?