Secrets of the Gauley: Off River Fun!
The New River Gorge of West Virginia is a perfect place for me: I was a water baby.
I was that kid at swim lessons who was always hopping in the water when the instructor’s back was turned. Hours would fly by at my grandparents’ pool as I dipped and dived all around it. Since then, I’ve parlayed my love of water into a career. Yup. Whitewater rafting. My sister on the other hand? Well, if it’s not based on land, you can count her out. Although she has sucked it up and gone down the river with me, she’d rather hike and rock climb then raft, say, the Gauley River. If you’re like my sister, then these five activities are perfect for you during Gauley season.
- Hiking in the New River Gorge is incredible. Trails wind up and down the gorge, offering views of rapids like the Keeneys (Endless Wall Trail or Keeneys Trail), the Big Bridge (Kaymoor Trailhead and Long Point) and even views of the town of Thurmond, right across the river from ACE (Oather Trail/ Concho Overlook). Whatever your skill level, there are hundreds of miles of trails in the gorge. Stop by ACE’s Main Office for a detailed map of the on-property trails, or …
- Check in at the New River Gorge Bridge Visitor’s Center for trails along the Lower New River. Make sure you visit the bridge and its overlooks at least once while you’re here. The size and wonder is truly mesmerizing.
- Just because the Gauley is running doesn’t mean we forgo all other activities at ACE! We still run trips for mountain biking, rock climbing, zip line canopy tour, paintball, ATVs… starting to get the picture? We’re still offering a plethora of outdoor adventures. Check out availability today!
- I always recommend to area visitors to check out other attractions in the area, so they really get a feel for West Virginia. If you head north up Highway 19, you’ll get to Babcock State Park near the quaint little town of Ansted, where you’ll be able to go hiking and check out the re-creation gristmill up there. If you’ve seen a photo of a gristmill before, chances are it’s the one at Babcock.
- Now, when leaving ACE, instead of heading north, you can head south towards the town of Beckley. Here, you’ll find Tamarack, a one-stop-shop for West Virginia culture, crafts and cuisine. Among the artisans feature at Tamarack is ACE’s own guide-extraordinaire Andy Pense. His pottery line is titled “Guided Clay.” Pretty clever, huh?
These are the top 5 off-river activities I recommend during Gauley River season. I’ve been a guide for three seasons and feel like I’m always finding new places to explore.
If I forgot your favorite, let me know in the comments!