- The New River Gorge is a popular spot for rock-climbing.
There are sheer rock faces for climbers of all levels, with
over 1500 routes and hundreds of hidden crags in the rocks.
- The Gauley can be dangerous and has taken lives. Listen
to your guide's instructions, especially if you go overboard.
- If you're boating, you'll need the skills to negotiate
Class V+ rapids.
Did you know?
- The Gauley River's vicious whitewater is rated number two
in the U.S. and seventh in the world. The Gauley boasts a
hundred rapids in a 24-mile stretch and five of them are rated
- West Virginia has a population of one million. It grew
with the mining industry in the late 1890s. The eastern states
had already become fairly populated, but it was Henry Ford
and the motor car industry which, with its need for steel,
opened up the area for coal mining. A hundred years ago, the
rich deposits of coal in the area made the New River Gorge
area a thriving industrial community. Towns like Sewell,
the first recorded settlement along the New River Gorge, were
home to two thousand people. As Bradley finds out, today Sewell
is abandoned and all that remains are ruined buildings overgrown
- The Summerville Dam is released four times a year,
releasing 22 million gallons of water into the Gauley River.
The dam was constructed in the 1960s by the US corps of Engineers
for flood control. With a height of 390 feet, the Summerville
Dam is the second largest earthen dam east of the Mississippi.
- Near Summersville, West Virginia is an important civil
War battle site, nestled on the rim of the Gauley River
Canyon. On September 10, 1861, Union troops engaged the
Confederates and forced them to evacuate an entrenched position
on a farm, which overlooked Carnifex Ferry. The Confederate
commander retreated, cementing the failure of the Confederate
drive to regain control of the Kanawha Valley. As a
result the movement for West Virginia statehood proceeded
without serious threat from the Confederates.
- The spectacular New River Gorge Bridge arching 876
feet above the Gauley River. It's the longest single-arch
steel bridge in the world, as well as the second highest in
the United States. One of West Virginia's largest festivals
is held here on the third Sunday in October, known as 'Bridge
Day'. All day long the bridge is blocked for pedestrian traffic