There are several historic places to see along the New River Gorge. We checked out the old train town Thurmond which was known as “The Heart of the New River Gorge”. In the late 1800’s, Thurmond became a bustling town along the C&O railroad.
To get to Thurmond, you turn off Highway 19 at Glen Jean. There is an old historic bank on the corner.
The road follows Dunloup Creek for about seven miles. Thurmond sits on the banks of the New River and you cross the river on a one lane road next to the railroad line.
In 1995, The old train depot was restored by the National Park Service as a visitors center. Be sure to check it out as there are a lot of neat exhibits inside.
Amtrak actually still runs trains along here and you can still get on and off in Thurmond.
An informational brochure is available at the kiosk outside the Visitors Center and it describes the history of the town and the buildings. A short walk along the railroad gives you a glimpse of the historic buildings.
The post office still stands and we found it interesting that the post office operated until 1995.
While we were exploring, a train came roaring through. While it was a cargo train, I could almost picture an old steam engine pulling up to the depot to let passengers off. In 1910, more than 75,000 passengers passed through Thurmond, experiencing the towns two hotels, restaurants, various shops and movie theater.
There is only one way into Thurmond, so you have to drive back the way you came. We were driving with our windows down and heard the sounds of a waterfall. We parked at one of the gravel pull-offs and could see a waterfall below. With a short scramble down the hillside, a beautiful waterfall was waiting.
We explored the New River Gorge in two days. We visited Thurmond on the second leg of our driving tour. Check out the map below to see our route. On this leg, we also visited Sandstone Falls and Grandview.
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