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The New River Gorge

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One of West Virginia’s most spectacular river canyons, the NEW RIVER GORGE (24hr; free; w http://www.nps.gov/neri), lies just thirty miles west of Lewisburg along I-64. Stretching for over fifty miles, and protected as a national park, the thousand-foot chasm was carved through the limestone mountains by the New River – ironically one of the oldest in North America. Apart from one daily Amtrak train, there’s no easy access to most of the gorge; to see it in full, you have to get out on the water. For details on the cycling, climbing, hiking and rafting options available, visit the gorge’s southern Sandstone Visitor Center, located where Hwy-64 crosses the river (daily 9am–5pm; t 304/466-0417), or the Canyon Rim visitor centre, seven miles north of Oak Hill on Hwy-19 (June–Aug 10am–5pm; t 304/574-2115), which sits near the New River Gorge Bridge, dramatically rising 900ft above the river.