Actually one of the oldest rivers in the world, the New River has carved a spectacular gorge through the southeastern part of the state. Fifty-three miles are designated at a National River. The New's magnificent scenery and rapids have made it the most popular whitewater river in the East, and the gorge offers more than 20 miles of cliffs for rock climbing.
The New River Gorge Bridge, the second highest in the United States and the longest single-span steel arch in the world, towers 876 feet above the river. Just north of Fayetteville, the National Park Service maintains a visitor center with a boardwalk for viewing the bridge. Park Service visitor centers at Thurmond, Grandview and Hinton provide interpretive programs.