Appalachian Getaway: New River Gorge

Appalachian Getaway: New River Gorge

By Giles Kennedy

Family and Travel Columnist



With recent restrictions lessening in Ohio, Columbus Wired continues their goal to bring you fresh content and ideas for family trips.

Not every family wants to river raft, climb across the Western Hemisphere’s Longest Arch Bridge, or zip line.

There’s something for everyone in the New River Gorge National River Recreation Area.


Our family likes to hike, explore, dig into history and occasionally wade in a lake or river.

This is how we enjoyed the natural beauty of the area.

Stretching from Fayetteville to Prince, West Virginia; 53 miles of New River shoreline is administrated and protected by the National Park Service.

There are limited services available such as the Canyon Rim Visitors Center, Thurmond Historical District site and many others.

Visit their website to keep posted on updated COVID 19 safety information.

We started our exploration in a former coal town with static display restored buildings.

Thurmond, like many other West Virginia towns; boomed quick and too soon. A long time Chesapeake and Ohio railroad town; it soared for nearly 20 plus years.

Then the great depression hit.

The remains and nearby trails are yours to explore. The former C&O Depot still operates as a stop for Amtrak’s Cardinal. It also duos as the area’s visitor center.

Nearby Thurmond has a lessor known haven called Stone Cliff.

One of the few publicly open camp areas; it features a sandy beach and public boat launch.

Myself, the wife and daughter played in the sand and waded along the New River.

After leaving there; we proceeded to the Canyon Rim Visitor’s Center.

Available porta potties, a small tent with information for the area, and trails await folks to explore.

The main trail features a Lower and Upper Overlook to see the modern marvel of the New River Valley.

The New River Gorge Bridge was finished in 1977. It cut a nearly 45 minute drive into mere 1-2 minutes on US Route 19.

It still stands as the largest arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere and is a sight to see.

After our visit along the trail; ice cream and souvenirs were procured at family owned Canyon Rim Gifts.

It is a short walk or drive away from the Visitor’s Center.

So many places in the region to explore; you don’t have to pay an arm and leg to do it.

Please visit Columbus Wired’s Facebook page for our photo album.


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