New River isn’t exactly new, it’s been a river for eons, perhaps the second oldest in the world. It may have gotten it’s name when it was discovered as a river not already on the map. However New River Gorge National Park is our newest national park, so designated in 2020. It’s been on our radar for quite some time. As we scurried past the brown signs along I-77 we’d remark that we needed to go there sometime soon. Now we know we need to go back time and time again. Today we started our visit at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center with a long conversation with a ranger followed by the orientation film in the theater. There’s so much to visit here, so much to learn about history, economy, geology, and more. Yes, some of the recreation here is extreme such as Class V Whitewater rafting and BASE jumping on Bridge Day , but there’s much more to do that doesn’t involve risking life or limb. Our first adventure was driving the Fayette Station Road and listening to the audio tour. This drive without stops takes at least half an hour to travel from Lansing to nearby Fayetteville, WV. Since the opening of the New River Gorge Bridge in 1977, that journey takes less than a minute. We stopped to marvel at the bridge from below, to watch for four minutes as a freight train passed by just east of the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge or “little bridge” down at the water. Ask us sometime about the railroad crossing gate and you’ll hear a campfire story. Then we paused to hike just a little and to watch a series of rafts float down some easy rapids. We know it’s just the beginning of our New River Gorge adventures but once we were on the west side we headed to the Kroger to re-provision then north on US-19 and over the iconic New River Bridge and back to camp for the evening.

Fayette Station Road is just one of several scenic drives in the park.
Yes, the gorge is still utilized by freight trains and we had a very up close and personal view of this one for nearly four minutes.
Nuttall Sandstone overhangs along the road.
Near the remains of the the mining towns of Fayette and South Fayette
Just gorgeous scenery!
So much of the cultural history here is about coal mining.
And the labor movement.
But now the economy is based on tourism and river adventures.
The “Little Bridge” on Fayette Station Road was preceded by Townsend’s Ferry.
We’ve only explored a tiny part in the very northern part of this park. We definitely want to experience more.
After driving under the New River Gorge Bridge, Redford’s anxious to also drive over it on US-19.

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