Scenic USA - West Virginia

Sandstone Falls

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Sandstone Falls - New River Gorge National River, West Virginia

Photo by Amanda Haddox
Amanda Haddox Photography
Inset photos courtesy NPS

     The New River Gorge National River, a unit of the National Parks Service, protects more than 70,000 acres along the New River New River at Diamond Point - New River Gorge between the towns of Hinton and Fayetteville in West Virginia. The park is noted for its cultural history, scenic views and river related recreation. Established in 1978, the parkland stretches for 53 miles along the river and is home to some of the country's best whitewater rafting. The Gorge is also one of the most popular rock climbing areas on the east coast. Over 1400 rock climb routes, around the gorge rim, are carved into a very hard Nuttall sandstone. New River Gorge Bridge at Long Point - New River Gorge, WV Climbs range from 30 to 120 feet with the majority of routes for the advanced, but traditional and sport climbs are also available.
     One of the most visited natural landmarks of the New River Gorge is Sandstone Falls. Here, the broad river thunders over a thick shelf of Stony Gap Sandstone, creating one of the Seven Natural Wonders of West Virginia. The falls is the largest along the New River in an area of continuous sheets of sandstone. Classified as an Appalachian Flatrock Ecosystem, the broad ledges extend upstream for more than 12 miles. Fishing and wading are popular River Rapids at Diamond Point - New River Gorge in the shallows above the falls, but all park visitors are warned of strong currents and deep crevasses.
     For a great scenic riverside drive follow the eight mile New River Road where historic sites, natural areas, overlooks, trails and river access points are spaced along the route. Downstream of the falls, the National Park Service has setup observation areas throughout the Sandstone Falls Natural Area, and are connected by a boardwalk. Wheelchair access ramps provides a viewpoint to the highest part of the falls on the eastern side of the river.

   Area Map


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