Saturday, September 30, 2023


Meet our newest National Park: New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

By Gail Marsh
The COVID-19 virus brought us many new and unique experiences: face mask fashion, months-long isolation, work-from-home, social distancing, and even schooling via Zoom! Most of us can hardly wait for these unique experiences to end! However, one good thing the virus brought? A new national park. Within the pages of the latest COVID-19 relief package was a ray of hope that made West Virginia the home to our newest national park. The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is nothing short of spectacular!

This new national park is big and beautiful!

This park and preserve, located south of Fayetteville, West Virginia, includes 73,000 acres of beautiful Appalachian Mountains land. The national park will include 7,000 acres located in the heart of the river gorge, which includes 53 miles of free-flowing whitewater. So, this place is a whitewater rafter’s dream! The remaining 65,000+ acres are designated as a national preserve.

Photo Credit: National Park Service
Sandstone Waterfall
Photo Credit: National Park Service

The New River Gorge National Park has something for everyone

Already a protected National River (since 1978), this park has many well-established amenities in place. You can mountain bike or hike the numerous trails, rock climb towering cliffs, kayak or raft, or cool off in one of many established swimming areas. Furthermore, you can picnic with your family, or expand your photography skills with the stunning landscapes and waterfalls. Or you can just relax and watch the many birds and animals that call this park home.

West Virginia park officials hope that receiving the national park status will increase the number of visitors to the park.

There are no campgrounds within the park. However, several primitive sites and camping areas can be found around the park. For a full list of these sites, click here.

Why not put the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve on your travel destination list for 2021? Perhaps we’ll see you there!


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


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J Castle
2 years ago

I, too, question our government sandwiching this into the relief bill, but I am also so glad they did. Southern West Virginia is a secret we can now share with everyone! The river with white water rafting, and the magnificent bridge are awesome. In October, on Bridge Day, half the bridge is closed to traffic to allow walking, bungee cord jumping and daredevil parachute jumping off of the bridge hundreds of feet in the air! Nearby, to the south, in Beckley, are summer outdoor theater and an exhibition coal mine you can actually tour, as well as a model coal camp. There is also a noteworthy Youth Museum with rotating exhibits. Limited camping can be found at New River Park in Beckley and at Lake Stevens. A few miles further south is Twin Falls State Park with swimming, golf, working pioneer farm, lodge with dining and a camp ground. New Rt. 121 to Mullens from Beckley, is an engineering marvel along the tops of the mountains, and gives access to Hatfield and McCoy ATV trails.

2 years ago

New River is a big white water destination.

Uncle Swags
2 years ago

Since I have visited all the other NPs in the lower 48, I have no choice but to visit this one and the couple others they recently designated. Just hope they have the correct and proper oval stickers.

Abe Loughin
2 years ago

While I applaud the designation of the New River Gorge National Park the fact that it was tucked away in the covid relief bill is just another example of our runaway government. I also don’t question the need for the covid relief, I just feel that the relief bill should have delt with domestic relief and all of the other additional items in it should be handled separately.

2 years ago
Reply to  Abe Loughin

Agreed. Regardless of how I feel about the wisdom of creating more National Parks while current parks continue to preach poverty and the inability to take care of what we already have, I fear we are going to see a lot more of this stuff “tucked away” in otherwise unrelated legislation over the next 4 years.

2 years ago
Reply to  Abe Loughin


Dennis Senecaut
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe

This has been going on for decades. Why do you think the next 4 years will be different? Both political parties are guilty.

Glen Cowgill
2 years ago

I grew up not too far from there. It is a beautiful area with great fishing, hunting and natural sights that make it worth seeing. The bridge on US-19 is an engineering feat. I remember when it was built and the miles it cut off the trip south.

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