Short trip to West Virginia in spring will leave you with some great memories. While you may have heard of New River Gorge, the place was meant for your eyes. Spring brings high water, wildflowers, and people. The New River cuts through several parks offering great views and chances explore on the ground.
Best approach to the area is US60 East from I77 in Charleston. The travel time straight through is just over an hour. You leave the city and quickly start following the New River. Several small towns dot the river, but at Gauley Bridge get out of car. Here the Gauley River meets the New River, best viewed from walking abandoned railroad bridge next to small museum. As you leave this town, you will cross railroad tracks and stop at little parking lot. Cathedral Falls is over sixty feet tall but looks twice the size in it’s little gorge. It’s about 500 ft from road.
Next the road starts to curve, it will take you to Hawk’s Nest State Park. Great views over looking gorge and the river impounded is called Hawk’s Nest Lake. The State Park offers lodging, with corner suites with views that are spectacular from balcony. Lodge isn’t new but updated.
From here the New River National River is fifteen minutes away. Taking US19 south, You will see visitors center on left. Inside you will get a map of park and learn the history of area. You should drive the old way to river.
The park guide has a list of hiking trails that are fairly easy. If you have two or three hours go to bridgeview trail. The picture below is your reward.
Once on other side of river, visit Pies and Pints for best pizza and microbrews selection around. There are several outfitters here that offer rafting trips, climbing, and other activities. Fayetteville is really close to I77 about ten minutes.
If you have time side trips to Babcock State Park for horseback riding, Grandview park, and Bluestone Lake allow more views. These are all with half hour of National Park.