Embracing Autumn’s Beauty: Things to Do in the New River Gorge

Pillow Rock Cabin Outside Fall Leaves

As the leaves start to turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold, and a crispness fills the air, it’s a sure sign that fall has arrived in the New River Gorge. Located in the heart of West Virginia, this natural wonder is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and a plethora of activities, the New River Gorge becomes an even more magical place during the fall season. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the best things to do in the New River Gorge during autumn.


Hike Among the Fall Foliage

One of the most iconic ways to experience the New River Gorge in the fall is by taking a hike through its scenic trails. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual stroller, there are trails suited for all skill levels. The Endless Wall Trail offers breathtaking views of the gorge and its vibrant autumnal colors. For a longer trek, consider the Long Point Trail, which rewards hikers with a stunning view of the gorge and the New River Bridge.


Whitewater Rafting

The New River is renowned for its thrilling whitewater rapids, and the fall season offers a unique perspective on this adrenaline-pumping activity. The combination of crisp air and rushing water is invigorating, making it an excellent time to try whitewater rafting. Outfitters in the area provide guided trips that cater to various skill levels, ensuring that both beginners and experienced rafters can enjoy this adventure.

Fall whitewater rafting in the New River Gorge

Explore the New River Gorge Bridge

The New River Gorge Bridge is an engineering marvel and an iconic landmark of the region. During the annual “Bridge Day” in October, the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic, and adventurers from around the world gather for a thrilling spectacle. Base jumpers leap from the bridge, and vendors set up booths along the catwalk. Even if you’re not visiting during Bridge Day, a visit to the bridge is a must for the breathtaking views it offers of the gorge.


Campfires and Stargazing

Cooler fall evenings provide the perfect excuse to gather around a campfire. Many campgrounds in the New River Gorge area provide designated fire pits, creating the ideal setting for marshmallow roasting and storytelling. After the campfire, don’t forget to look up at the night sky. The lack of light pollution in the area makes it an exceptional spot for stargazing. 


Fall is a migratory season for many bird species, and the New River Gorge is a fantastic place for birdwatching. Grab your binoculars and a field guide, and explore the diverse habitats, including forests, wetlands, and riverbanks. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and numerous songbirds as they pass through the area. 

Visit Historic Sites

The New River Gorge is not just about outdoor adventures; it’s also rich in history. Take a step back in time by visiting historic sites like the Thurmond Depot, a well-preserved railroad town, or the Mystery Hole, an eccentric attraction that will leave you baffled and entertained.


The New River Gorge in the fall is a paradise for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and anyone looking to experience the beauty of autumn in a stunning natural setting. From hiking and whitewater rafting to exploring historic sites and stargazing around campfires, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during this enchanting season. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and outdoor wonders of the New River Gorge this fall. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.


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