New River Gorge, WV

Nov 10, 2021

I recently visited one of the nation's most recently designated national parks; the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve which is situated on rte 19 just outside of Fayetteville, West Virginia. The predominant feature of the park is the iconic New River Gorge Bridge which allows four lanes of traffic to cruise along almost 900 feet above the New River on their way between Fayetteville and Summersville.

Opened in 1977, it turned a 45 minute drive down a winding road into a 60 second drive across what remains one of the highest vehicular bridges in the world.

From the parking area, the hike to the upper overlook is an easy stroll down the boardwalk

with an option to take the stairs to the lower (and better view) overlook. There are 178 steps to the lower platform with a bench at the halfway point in the event that they prove taxing.

Along the way, there are also some great views of the gorge which are part of the largest unbroken expanses of forest left on the planet.

That's the original bridge down below

The view of the bridge from the lower platform is well worth the stairs required to gain access.

Don’t miss the upper overlook while you’re there as it gives a different view of the bridge than is typically shown in photographs and, if scheduled ahead, there is also a possibility of taking a hike under the bridge. (I was unaware of this possibility prior to my visit and did not look into cost or other details)

I also discovered that the winding mountain roads that the bridge allowed traffic to bypass are still open as a scenic drive which is now on the short list for a motorcycle trip when the weather warms in the spring.

I’ll update with more pictures (and probably some video) when that happens.