What Are Some Facts About New River Gorge in West Virginia?


Quick Answer

The New River Gorge in West Virginia is the deepest and longest river gorge in the Appalachian Mountains. The iconic New River Gorge Bridge, a 3,030-foot long steel arch situated 876 feet from the base of the gorge, spans the gorge.

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Full Answer

Over millions of years (with estimates ranging from 3 to 320 million years), the New River carved a swath through the sandstone Appalachian Plateau, exposing cliffs with vertical heights between 900 and 1500 feet. The New River, popular among tourists and athletes for its rugged whitewater bordered by beautiful cliffs and rock features, is ironically one of the oldest rivers on the planet. It flows north from the Bluestone Dam near Hinton to U.S. Highway 19 near Fayetteville, West Virginia.

In 1978, the state of West Virginia designated the gorge as a National River and recreational area, thereby protecting 70,000 acres of Appalachian forest along the New River's banks. The animal and plant life rank among the most diverse in the entire Appalachian mountain ecosystem, though the area is still recovering from decades of logging and development during the 20th century. Nevertheless, over 1 million visitors arrive each year to participate in various activities such as hiking, boating, fishing, hunting, camping and biking.

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