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The New River Gorge in West Virginia

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

Hey, y'all! Earlier this summer, my wanderings took me to that wild and wonderful state in the heart of Appalachia. If you have good taste in music, you may have heard John Denver sing about her before. Of course, I'm talking about West Virginia! (Cue everyone belting "Mountain Mamaaaaa" in unison.)

As a proud Appalachian, West Virginia has been on my wandering list for quite some time now. The lure of ancient rivers, deep hollers, rich culture, and mountain mystique has a way of gently tugging my sense of adventure to the beautiful, and often misunderstood treasure that is West Virginia.

I stayed in a cozy little cabin at Adventures on the Gorge in Lansing, West Virginia. This was the perfect home base for the weekend adventure. It was a short drive from the gorge itself, the town of Fayetteville, and it was conveniently located near a delicious bbq restaurant on the property of Adventures on the Gorge.

Okay, now let's get to the good stuff y'all... the hiking.

Long Point Trail

Length: 3.2 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Why it's cool: You get to see a massive bridge!

Long Point Trail was an excellent little trail on which to frolic for thigh-slapping views of the New River Gorge and the New River Gorge Bridge. What... you don't slap your thighs when you see incredible views?

Y'all, needless to say, this view and this bridge are not overrated. It's not often that nature and a man made structure marry together in such an awe-inspiring way, but that's exactly the unique relationship that can be seen with the New River Gorge and the New River Gorge Bridge.

After traversing back to the parking area for this lovely trail, my wandering partner and I drove to the National Park entrance to get a better look at the bridge and to do a driving tour through the gorge.

While on the driving tour, I learned through interpretive signage that the bridge shortened the travel time across the gorge from 45 minutes to a mere 45 seconds.

Let's have some philosophical thoughts for just a moment, y'all. This fact struck me deeply as we meandered down a winding road to the powerful waters of the New River. The modern world that we live in is quick. We move quickly, absorb shallow bits of information quickly, talk quickly, and we live quickly. The incredible innovation that was the New River Gorge Bridge allowed movement across the gorge to be done more quickly. This is an incredible structure that cannot be taken for granted. It allowed life to happen more quickly and conveniently.

However, this also forced my mind to slow down and take in the moment more fully. Sometimes, facets of our modern day existence like our mobile devices, quick transportation, and busy working lives make life feel more shallow. It is okay to live slowly, think slowly, and absorb moments in life more slowly.

Enough of that deep stuff, let's get back to some pretty pictures!

To top off a beautiful day of viewing the New River Gorge from above and below, the sunset that graced the sky that night was absolutely stunning. There are several beautiful spots along the gorge to view the sunset, but we opted to watch this natural showtime spectacular from an overlook on the property of Adventures on the Gorge.

West Virginia is a breathtaking state. It makes me a Happy Appalachy. The deep hollers, ancient rivers, and solemn mountains make it an exquisitely underrated place that should definitely be on your own adventure list. I can't wait to get back there and explore more of the land that was adequately dubbed "almost heaven"...

For more photos and explorations, be sure to follow The Wandering Appalachian on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Be sure that when you're discovering new places to practice Leave No Trace principles. Take only pictures, and leave only footprints. Happy wandering, y'all!


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