Plan Like a Park Ranger: Top 10 Tips for visiting New River Gorge

park ranger close up

There are plenty of amazing things to do at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve! Raft the New River. Climb the sandstone cliffs of Endless Wall. Hike or bike on over 100 miles of trails. Marvel at a scenic overlook at Grandview or Canyon Rim. Go back in time at Thurmond or Kaymoor.

To make the best of your visit, plan ahead. Here are some tips to help make your trip to New River Gorge a trip you will remember forever.

  1. The spectacular views from Endless Wall and Long Point make these trails two of the most popular in the park. Trailhead parking can fill up quickly, so plan to hike these locations on weekdays or earlier in the morning. Check out the Fayetteville Area Trails page for more information.
  2. There are over 100 miles of hiking and biking trails in the park. Check the hiking page to find descriptions of every trail and view photos of every trail in the trails photo gallery.
  3. Camping is very popular in the park. Campsites are first come-first served, and we do not take reservations, so plan to arrive earlier in the day or during weekdays. If you want the security of reserving a place to stay, consider camping in nearby state parks or private campgrounds. Check out the camping page for more information.
  4. Whether rafting, kayaking, or fishing always be sure to always wear a life jacket whenever you are on or near the river. Check out our water safety page for more good advice.
  5. The New River is well known for large rapids and powerful currents. If you are not well skilled and familiar with this river, consider rafting with a licensed outfitter. Check out the Whitewater and Commercial Whitewater Information pages for more information.
  6. Many trails in the park are open to biking ranging from single track mountain bike trails to old railroad grades. Check the Bicycling at New River Gorge page to see where you can bike and determine which trail will be best for you.
  7. Dogs can make great hiking companions. Pets are allowed on all park trails but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Check out the pets page for more information.
  8. There is a long history of railroading in the New River Gorge. Rail lines in the park today are still active. Use caution and stay off railroad tracks when visiting places like Thurmond and other sites along the tracks.
  9. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is spread out over 53 miles. If you use a GPS to navigate, be sure to enter the specific location you are heading (Canyon Rim Visitor Center, or New River Gorge Bridge, etc). There are many small back roads and it is wise to look at a map or consult our Directions and Transportation page.
  10. The steep terrain of the gorge adds to the dramatic scenery of this park, but it can also result in frequent washouts and slides which can lead to road and trail closures. Before heading out into the park, check the Road and Trail Closures page for updated information.

New River Gorge National Park & Preserve

Last updated: May 26, 2021