New River Gorge Bridge Overlook

New River Gorge Bridge Overlook

The New River Gorge Bridge Overlook should be your first stop if you are planning a visit to the newest National Park in the United States. Located in southern West Virginia, the New River Gorge National Park is the 63rd national park in the country. If this is your first time visiting, you are in for a treat.

Be sure to start off your visit at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, conveniently located off US Route 19. The Canyon Rim Visitor Center houses an exhibit center featuring the history of the gorge. On display are photographs of prominent people, the town, and history that make the area so special.

Visitors can watch a quick 11 minute video explaining the significance of the New River Gorge National Park.

Once you have finished up inside, the hike to the overlook of the bridge is only a short walk away.

The trail is just over half a mile out and back so you don’t need to pack anything extra. This also makes it a good pit stop if you are passing through southern West Virginia.

The walk to the overlook and back along with time for pictures of the New River Gorge Bridge can be done in 30 minutes. Burn off a bit of built up energy and make your road trip even more interesting.

Once you start your hike, the bridge and surrounding mountains are visible from the first overlook you encounter.

However, you’ll be selling yourself short if you don’t continue on to the lower New River Gorge Bridge Overlook.

The view is decent but it pales in comparison to what can be seen from the lower overlook.

New River Gorge Bridge

Descending to the New River Gorge Bridge Lower Overlook

There is a sign nearby that lets visitors know there are 178 steps to the bottom. It advises park guests that you don’t have to go down but you will definitely have to come back up.

New River Gorge Bridge Overlook Steps
These 178 steps will lead you to the Lower Overlook

Don’t be dissuaded by their warning. It is a long walk but very doable for those in moderate physical conditioning.

From the lower overlook you can see the massive span of the New River Gorge Bridge as it crosses the New River. In the valley below hordes of whitewater rafters are visible making their way down the river.

Even more thrill seekers can be seen preparing their rafts and gear to launch for their trip down the New River.

The view from the lower overlook is also one of the most coveted spots to watch during Bridge Day. Bridge Day is an event held yearly where base jumping from the New River Gorge Bridge is permitted.

As you can see from our videos and pictures of the New River Gorge Bridge, it provides quite the view.

The New River is recognized as the oldest river in North America. It’s also one of the few rivers on the continent that flows northward. As you can imagine, it is quite the destination in West Virginia for whitewater rafters.

Climbing Back Up The Overlook Steps

Once we were done, a quick two minute walk got us back up the steps to the upper overlook of the New River Gorge Bridge.

While we were there many people were making their way up and down the steps. People of all ages and physical abilities were making the trek. Our It may seem like a lot as you look down the stairway, but chances are you can do it.

Before your descent, you can check out our video below to determine if walking down to the lower overlook is right for you.

Always err on the side of caution, but you will most likely be able to do it. Don’t miss out on the spectacular views from the lower overlook at the New River Gorge Bridge. They’re worth the time it takes to get down and back.

Before you visit the newest National Park in America, stop and view the bridge that spans it.

What To Do Next

As we mentioned, visiting the New River Gorge Bridge Scenic Overlook should be stop number one. Where do you go from here?

Our suggestion would be to take the Fayette Station Road scenic driving tour. The road leads you down into the New River Gorge and it starts right at the parking lot of the New River Gorge Bridge Overlook. This makes it the logical next step on your adventure.

The Fayette Station Road is a 100 year old road full of hairpin turns that takes around 30-45 minutes to complete.

On this 8 mile roadtrip through the gorge you will see the historic town sites of Fayette and South Fayette and then cross over the New River on the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge.

There are plenty of places to pull of for photo opportunities before eventually rejoining US Route 19 and resuming your journey on the main road.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *