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Our 10 Favorite Activities in the New River Gorge

March 30, 2024

Our guests are always amazed by the number of activities available in the New River Gorge. Here are our favorites – the activities we always recommend. Who are we? Amy & Shawn, New River Gorge hikers, WV Master Naturalists, and owners of Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals in downtown Fayetteville, WV – the heart of New River Gorge National Park.

Five people in red harnesses standing under the New River Gorge Bridge on a steel catwalk doing the Bridge Walk Tour.
Amy & Shawn with friends high above the New River on Bridge Walk.

Bridge Walk

Bridge Walk offers guided tours of the New River Gorge Bridge from the catwalk beneath the bridge – 876′ above the New River! And while that is terrifying to think about, the well-executed tour is always informative, fun, and extremely safe. We can’t imagine not experiencing the fascinating perspective this tour offers, and we always recommend it to our guests.

A view from above of the New River Gorge with Fayette Station Road on the left and the New River on the right.
A Section of Fayette Station Road. Photo from NPS.

Driving Fayette Station Road

Fayette Station Road is considered one of the primary features of New River Gorge National Park and it’s easy to see why. Driving the old, windy road reveals the natural beauty of this ancient river gorge. The drive also offers the cultural experience of stepping back in time – a time before the magnificent New River Gorge Bridge existed. We’ve driven it hundreds of times and always take our friends and family on the tour.

Shawn and Wild Blue Adventure pilot Bill inside a blue and yellow bi-plane ready for take off.
Shawn and Wild Blue Adventure Pilot Bill Chouinard are ready to take off!

Biplane Ride

Hands down, one of Shawn’s all-time favorite experiences EVER was flying in a World War II Stearman Biplane high above the New River Gorge. Bill, the experienced pilot and owner of Wild Blue Adventure Company, even offers breathtaking aerobatics, which Shawn highly recommends! The view is worth a million dollars. The barrel roles and hammerhead stalls are priceless!

Shawn standup paddleboarding on the Kanawha River by Kanawha Falls.  There is rushing white water to his left and lush green trees behind him.
Shawn paddleboarding by one of the MANY falls at Kanawha Falls.

Paddling Below Kanawha Falls

Taking a guided tour of Kanawha Falls with Mountain Surf Paddle Sports is so much fun! The most thrilling part for us was exploring the NUMEROUS waterfalls closest to the eastern bank – an area not visible from the road or fishing area. The river, the falls, the wildlife, and the rock formations are all breathtakingly beautiful and only accessible to this degree by water.

Amy and Shawn smiling above a cream colored mushroom with big well-defined gills.
Amy and Shawn from the Mushroom’s Point of View.

Mushroom Hunting

It’s been almost a decade since we found our passion for fungus, but our love of learning about these fascinating creatures is still going strong. While we do forage for some delicious edibles, we get the most joy from walking through the woods and looking at the incredible diversity. We enjoy leaving the little wonders where they grow for others to learn from and enjoy.

An old rod iron fence around a green park lawn in the foreground with the historic buildings of Hinton, WV in the background.
Historic Hinton, WV. Photo from Visit Southern WV.

Day Tripping Down South

When we have the luxury of a day completely free of Lafayette Flats work duties, we usually head upriver to the southern section of the New River Gorge. The river and the bottomlands are much wider in this beautiful area and there’s a lot do to. We enjoy visiting Sandstone Visitors Center, exploring Sandstone Falls and the historic subsistence farms, and stopping in the small town of Hinton for a yummy lunch.

Forest Finds: Pink Lady Slipper Orchids, Tulip Poplar Flower, Turkey Tail Mushroom, Red Eft, Trillium, Oyster Mushrooms, Orchid, Ghost Pipes
Forest Finds from New River Gorge Eco Tours.

New River Gorge Eco Tour

When we’re not managing Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals, we’re leading New River Gorge Eco Tours. These three-hour guided nature walks in the National Park are just another way we express our love for this special place, one of the most bio-diverse forests in the world! We practice sustainable tourism principles with each tour to ensure low environmental impact.

Woman in yellow helmet attached to a zipline high above a creek with trees below her.
Zipline Canopy Tour. Photo from Adventures on the Gorge.

Treetops Zipline Canopy Tours

Flying from tree to tree in this beautiful Appalachian forest is what dreams are made of. Seriously, we both have dreamed of flying high above the creeks and crevices of this place we love, and Adventures on the Gorge Treetops Zipline Canopy Tours enables us to live the dream!

People in bright blue helmets with yellow oars in a raft going through wihitewater rapids on the New River.
Whitewater rafters going down the New River. Photo by Peggy Smith.

Whitewater Rafting the Lower New

Every time we go whitewater rafting we have the same reaction: “Why don’t we do this all summer, every summer?” Floating down the Lower New River is as gorgeous as it is thrilling. Periods of peaceful enjoyment of the natural beauty are punctuated by jaw-dropping excitement provided by the MANY rapids. There are rafting experiences both more and less intense, but the Lower New never disappoints.

Sitting on the Courthouse Bench

Back in 2014, when we were renovating the building that houses Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals, we only had the energy for one activity at the end of the work day – sitting on the town bench out front. The fun, energetic vibe of Fayetteville would reinvigorate our tired bones, and watching cars from across the county pass by would fill us with inspiration. This year, as we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we find ourselves coming back to the bench to reflect on a decade in the place we love.

Which New River Gorge National Park Hiking Trail is Right for YOU? Take the quiz!

There are so many other activities we enjoy and recommend including mountain biking, rock climbing, waterfall chasing, flatwater kayaking, and more! See a full list in our blog post, “Choose Your Own Adventure in the New River Gorge.”

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171 N. Court Street
Fayetteville, WV 25840
(304) 900-3301