New River Gorge – America’s Newest National Park

Like myself, I am sure most of your adventure travelers could use a little bit of good news right about now. While this isn’t necessarily breaking news, I do have some very good news to share with you none-the-less. As of December 27, 2020, the United States has a brand new national park. New River Gorge in the state of West Virginia has become West Virginia’s first national parkland and the nation’s 63rd protected land to get the national park designation.

This means that, as travel begins to open back up within the United States, there is a brand new park for adventure travelers and national park enthusiasts to explore and check off their list. While I will hold off on developing an extensive guide on this park until I have had a chance to visit and explore it myself, I did want to give you a brief overview of the park and a list of resources you can use to research it on your own in case you have interest in visiting this year.

While there seems to be plenty of amazing things to do in and around New River Gorge National Park, I want to focus on what seem to be the park’s three biggest draws. Hiking, climbing, and getting out on the white water to go rafting or kayaking are three activities that this new park gives visitors ample opportunities to enjoy. In case you are interested, I have provided a little overview of the opportunities to enjoy these opportunities inside the park below.

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One of my very favorite activities that I enjoy doing when visiting national parks is hiking. If you follow my blog closely, this should come as no surprise. That is why I was absolutely thrilled to learn that New River Gorge has so many wonderful hiking paths for visitors to enjoy. Regardless of your hiking ability, you will have no trouble finding a trail that fits your needs as the park has trails with a variety of different difficulty levels. If you are a novice hiker, you will enjoy such trails as the Brooklyn – Southside Junction Trail or Tunnel Trail. For those who are more experienced hikers and are looking for a challenge, the Kaymoor Miners Trail and Little Laurel Trail will provide the challenge you are looking for. So if you are looking for a new hiking destination in the United States, I would take a look at the New River Gorge National Park as a possible future travel destination.

White Water Rafting and Kayaking

Out of all the outdoor activities that are available for you to enjoy in New River Gorge National Park, one of the most popular is undoubtedly getting out on the river and doing some rafting or kayaking. The New River Gorge has long been on of the premier whitewater destinations in the United States. The park includes 53-miles of free flowing whitewater with beautiful, towering sandstone cliffs that rise up 1,000-feet on both sides of the river. While the upper part of the river has calm waters for beginning rafters and kayakers to enjoy, further down the river you will find plenty of Class III and Class V rapids that will challenge even the most experienced adventurers. So if you have yet to challenge yourself on the white waters of New River Gorge, I would suggest looking into that.


The last activity that you can enjoy inside of New River Gorge National Park that I would like to highlight in my introduction to the park is rock climbing. While it may not be as popular of a rock climbing destination as some of the iconic destinations in the Western United States such as Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Zion National Parks, the New River Gorge may be the best rock climbing destination in the United States east of the Mississippi River. The park has over 1,500 mapped rock climbing routes along the river-side cliffs that will challenge even the most accomplished climbers. So if you are looking for a new rock climbing challenge, I would certainly suggest exploring the New River Gorge National Park on one of your upcoming adventures.


If you are interested in exploring America’s newest national park and don’t know where to begin with your planning, I have included a number of resources for you to review below. These park resources will help you learn a little bit more about the park, the activities you can enjoy during your stay, and how to plan your adventure!

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Categories: National Parks, National Parks News and Opinions, North America, South Atlantic Parks, Travel, Travel Adventure, Uncategorized, United States, West VirginiaTags: , , , , , , , ,


  1. Thanks for shinning a light on this beautiful area. Many years ago I went rafting on the New River.

  2. Looks like a stunning part of the US and one I wasn’t familiar with. Nice to see it get National Park status 🙂

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