While exploring the New River Gorge, our first stop was the Canyon Rim Visitors Center just of Highway 19. I really liked this visitors center as it had a lot of interesting exhibits and artifacts inside. To the north of the visitors center is the iconic New River Gorge Bridge. A short walkway leads to the first viewing platform of the bridge.
To get an even better view, take the stairs down to a second platform.
The New River Gorge Bridge transformed traveling from one side of the gorge to the other. Before the bridge was built, travelers had to descend down the gorge via Fayette Station Road, a narrow and difficult road, cross over the Fayette Station Bridge and wind their way back up the other side to the top of the gorge. This route took 45 minutes to complete. When the new bridge was completed in 1977, the Fayette Station Road became obsolete and travel time from one side of the gorge to the other was reduced to a mere 45 seconds.
Hello from the New River Gorge!
The New River creates the longest and deepest gorge through the Appalachian Mountains.
You can still go back in time and travel the Fayette Station Road. The road is a 7.5 mile loop and for most of the way it is a one-way road. You get amazing, unobstructed views of the bridge and its framework.
Once at the bottom of the gorge, you can cross over the Fayette Station Bridge and look upward at the new bridge that cuts through the gorge high above you. The bridge is the longest steel span bridge in the western hemisphere and the third highest bridge in the United States at 876 feet high.
We pulled off at the river access parking lot to take a couple more pictures. Did you know that the New River actually flows north?
After winding back up the other side, we headed for Cathedral Falls and Hawks Nest State Park. Check out our route below!
The bridge/gorge is beautiful!