3 National Parks of Southern West Virginia
Did you know Bridge Day takes place in a National Park? And that it’s one of 3 right in the area? Visit Southern West Virginia, in partnership with the National Park Service, is bringing these 3 parks under 1 umbrella: “The National Parks of Southern West Virginia.”
The Bluestone National Scenic River, the Gauley River National Recreational Area and our own beloved New River Gorge National River’s joined campaign will help get the word out about the amazing recreational opportunities we have here in Southern West Virginia.
And that means more people can have a deeper and more meaningful experience at our beautiful National Parks.
These 3 parks already bring in 1.2 million visitors, who contribute $60 million to the local economy annually. But research has shown that almost half of the visitors who come to our area have no idea that they are visiting a National Park.
“When we were presented with the data that over half of travelers to southern WV's National Park parks were not aware they were in a National Park, we knew we had to step up to bring awareness to our guests,” said Doug Maddy, CEO/President. “So much of our area’s identity revolves around these wonderful parks.”
While each of these parks share incredible Appalachian scenery and terrain, they are very different and offer unique experiences:
- The Bluestone National Scenic River is a 10.5-mile stretch of the Bluestone River, whose ancient and rugged gorge is a preserved living landscape that is home to a variety of plants and animals. Fishing, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding are some of the most popular activities in this secluded park, which is only accessible through 2 adjoining state parks.
- The Gauley River National Recreational Area is a wild and rugged Park that includes 25 miles of the Gauley River, which is world-famous for its “Big 5” class V+ whitewater rapids.
- The largest of the parks, with more than 70,000 acres, is the New River Gorge National River. The New River is one of the oldest rivers in North America and runs south to north. The New River has a rich cultural and natural history. It’s the adventure center of the East, with world-class whitewater, rock climbing and mountain biking in addition to hiking, fishing, bird watching and other unique activities— like the annual BASE jumping festival or WWII biplane rides.