Natural Features and Ecosystems
The headwaters of the Bluestone River begin at an elevation of 3500 feet on East River Mountain near Bluefield, Virginia and flow for 77 miles to Bluestone Lake near Hinton, West Virginia at 1409 feet. The Bluestone is a tributary of the New River, draining parts of southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia.
Bluestone National Scenic River is a 10.5 mile section of the Bluestone River in southern West Virginia created in 1988 under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Our nation's Wild and Scenic Rivers System was established for the purpose of protecting for the present, and preserving for the future, undeveloped, free-flowing rivers that possess "outstandingly remarkable" scenic, natural, cultural, geological and recreational values.
The 10.5 mile section of the Bluestone River contained within the park runs through a deep, scenic gorge cut through the surrounding mountains. The rugged gorge offers many inspiring views. A diverse mix of Southern Appalachian forest types, from oaks and hickories on the ridgetops to birch and sycamores along the riverbanks, can be found along the Bluestone.
Did You Know?
The upper Bluestone River is a popular whitewater run during higher springtime flows. This upper is rated Class III-IV and is for experienced boaters. The lower section is suitable for beginning paddlers.