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New River Gorge National Park
SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com

America’s Newest National Park Is…

SmarterTravel

Welcome to New River Gorge, America’s 63rd national park. Located in West Virginia about an hour’s drive from Charleston, this 73,000-acre beauty was upgraded to national park status as part of the recent stimulus package. (Making the area a national park is expected to increase tourism and revenue in the future, hence the add-on.)

New River Gorge, one of the oldest rivers on the continent, has long attracted adventurers. The whitewater rapids that cut through the stunningly scenic sandstone cliffs range from Class I to Class V, and draw in both experienced rafters and families looking for a fun day on the water. Along those cliffs, rock-climbers flock to the more than 1,500 climbing routes. The surrounding forests offer world-class hiking and mountain biking trails to explore as well.

New River Gorge will be one of the few “split” national parks, meaning it will be divided into two parts. The national park will be comprised of around 7,000-acres. The remaining 65,000-acres will be designated as a national preserve and will allow backcountry hunting.

The area has been managed by the National Park Service since in 1978, when it was designated as a national river.

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