2021 is the year to explore U.S. National Parks and if you needed more reason to visit them, there’s a new one on the list. The U.S. National Park Service has just made New River Gorge, a popular rock climbing and whitewater rafting destination in southeastern West Virginia, its newest national park.
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, is about an hour’s drive from Charleston, West Virginia, and it’s a whitewater rafter’s paradise. The park encompasses over 70,000 acres of land and 53 miles of free-flowing whitewater deep canyons.
The New River is one of the oldest rivers and it’s the deepest and longest river gorge in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s perfect for whitewater rafters of all experiences since the Lower Gorge of the New River rapids ranges in difficulty from Class III to Class V and the upper part of the river has less challenging class I to III rapids for whitewater canoeing.
And rafting isn’t the only thing you can do at New River Gorge National River—there are a ton of recreational opportunities including canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, bird watching, camping, hunting, biking, and picnicking. If you love animals, be sure to be on the lookout for white-tailed deer, river otters, and bald eagles, which are among the wildlife that’s regularly spotted at the park.