New River Gorge

Kent Mason, Photographer / Conservationist

The New River Gorge is the longest, deepest and oldest gorge in the Appalachian Mountains. It is the second oldest river in the world, older than the Appalachians and the second most biologically diverse place on earth. In 1978 the New River Gorge National River was established encompassing over 72,000 acres and protecting over 53 miles of the New River and the gorge. Unique features include exposure of over 1,000 feet of sandstone and shale and house size boulders from river to rim, sheer rock walls, unparalled riverine hydrolic areas, globally significant plant and forest communities, endangered animals and rare birds and amphibians. The Sandstone Falls is over 1,500 feet in length. It's human history is extensive since it is one of the best passages through the Appalachian Mountains and contains a wealth of natural resources. It remains a major east/west railroad route. Now visitors and thrillseekers come to the gorge from all over the world for whitewater rafting, rock climbing, bridge jumping, hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, etc. The New River Gorge Bridge, at 876 feet high and 3,030 feet long, was for many years the world longest steel single span arch bridge. This gallery provides a visual tour of the gorge.