River Detours and Closures at the Thomas Buford Pugh Memorial Bridge
The WV Department of Highways and the Federal Highways Administration is replacing the Thomas Buford Pugh Memorial Bridge on Route 41 in the town of Prince. Construction will require temporary full river traffic closures and long term river detours. More »
The largest waterfall on the New River, Sandstone Falls spans the river where it is 1500 feet wide. Divided by a series of islands, the river drops 10 to 25 feet.
Your journey to view the falls will require some driving time, but it will take you along two of the park's most scenic roads, Route 20 from I-64 at the community of Sandstone, ten miles upstream to the town of Hinton, then downstream eight miles along River Road, the park's only scenic riverside drive. Both these routes offer several overlooks, historic sites, natural areas, trails, and river access points.
The walk begins by crossing a short bridge that spans a manmade channel that once diverted water for a water powered gristmill used for grinding the local farmers corn and wheat. The first island offers a view of the lower falls, the one half mile Island Loop Trail, and one of the most unique botanical ecosystems in West Virginia, the Appalachian riverside flat rock plant community. This community is found in only five areas in the state and consists of several southern plant species that have migrated along the north flowing New River and have adapted to the thin rock strewn soil and occasional scouring floods on this elevated island below the falls.
Sandstone Falls is a popular fishing spot for smallmouth bass and catfish: a West Virginia fishing licience is required. For more information check out our fishing page.
The river around Sandstone Falls has been the site of several drownings - always wear a lifejacket when in or near the water. For more information, check out our water safety page.
For information about hiking near Sandstone Falls, check out the Sandstone Falls trails page.
Did You Know?
Over one million visitors come to New River Gorge National River each year. Park rangers assist visitors and help them better understand the park and the park resources.