The first time I headed down the New River in West Virginia on a one-day group rafting trip through Adventures on the Gorge, a one stop place for adventurers of all ages, I had such a blast that I wanted a repeat. The repeat came last July when I took in three days of adventure with my daughter as my companion. This was white water and more. Soaring above tree lines on a zip line adventure was a mega dose blast of an adrenaline rush.
Fortunately being physically fit in tip top shape is not a must for most activities, and for those who prefer to hang out by a pool, or take in scenery from a lounge chair, there’s that too. Lodging is equally diverse. Whether you like to rough it in a tent, or sleep in luxury, a variety of lodging options are on the resort’s menu.
The mix of adventure in the midst of the lush beauty of New River Gorge National River with a history as diverse as the landscape is a heady combination worth visiting again and again.
White water rafting trips are the biggest draw. Ranging in difficulty from beginners to more experienced, trips are bonding times for friends, family and complete strangers, and test ones mettle with thrills of a lifetime. Depending upon the river’s water levels and guest’s rafting experience, trips are on the Lower New River, the Upper New River or on the Lower and Upper sections of the Gauley River. The Gauley, a 105 mile river in the mountain state merges with the New River and becomes the Kanawha River which feeds into the Ohio.
Browse the rafting menu on Adventures on the Gorge’s webpage and you’ll find the trip that fits you and yours depending upon your experience and age, and whether a half-day, full-day or overnights are your desire. Some trips take kids as young as 6. The more advanced ones have an age 15 and older requirement. Regardless which trip you choose, you’re guaranteed a top notch experience with quality equipment and guides who can read a river’s rapids from Class 1 to Class 5.
Because of the particularly wet season, my daughter and I were able to go on one of the Gauley trips which usually only run in the spring and the fall. This trip was on a smaller raft with only two other riders besides us and the guide whose calmness was remarkable even when we paddled the wrong way for a smidgen, threatening to dump us all.
As I learned the day before on the New River trip, dumping out of a raft is not the worst thing. You will immediately pop back up and the guide, does know how to help haul you back in. Even with my fear of drowning which went away as soon as I hit the water after the thought, “We are so going over, ” flashed like a neon sign, I had the presence of mind to grab an oar floating near me and a shoe of one of my fellow rafters. Five of us dumped out when the raft tipped. This made great footage on the video we watched later over beers at Chetty’s Pub, one of Adventure on the Gorge’s restaurants. On each New River trip, a videographer films various portions of each raft’s whitewater encounters.
Like rafting, a zip line adventure does not require athletic talents for success. Basically, harness up, listen to the guide to know where to place your hands, head and feet and what to expect on the other side and off you go whirring through the air with bird’s eye views. At Adventures on the Gorge, there are two zip line options: Gravity and Treetops Canopy.
Gravity is a 1.5 mile, open air zip line course that goes 200 feet above ground at its highest point where mountain views are spectacular at every angle. The longest zip is 3,150 feet which gives a rush of a ride. Speeds get up to 60 miles per hour.
The Treetops Canopy zip line is the wooded variety where soaring through stands of endangered hemlock trees and across streams is a magical, exciting way to enjoy nature. In addition to zipping across wire, the course includes walking on cable bridges, hiking and rappelling. The Treetops Canopy tour does run all year round.
Adventures on the Gorge
New River George, West Virginia
Post and zip line photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein; Rafting photos courtesy of Adventures on the Gorge
I was a guest of Adventures on the Gorge for research purposes on my second visit. All views are my own. I’ll be heading back there this fall when we will be paying customers. My son’s Boy Scout troop goes here every year.