Want to add some adventure to your life? Head to Adventures on the Gorge, a rustic yet luxurious resort near the gorgeous New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia. The resort makes a perfect home base for white water rafting, ziplining, rock climbing, hiking and other outdoor adventures. Cap it off with a great meal while you watch the sun go down over the mountain valley.
The writer was hosted.
My daily work routine was giving me the doldrums. So, I re-energized my attitude by going on an adventure to southern West Virginia.
My son and I embarked on a road trip to Adventures on the Gorge, an adventure sports resort located near New River Gorge National Park.
This Adventures on the Gorge experience provided a positive charge of enthusiasm to our spirits. We enjoyed an out-of-the-ordinary vacation of high-energy fun filled with world-class whitewater rafting, rock climbing, gravity ziplines and more.
A very much needed escape from the hustle and bustle of city life!
Read more: Things to see and do in West Virginia
Adventures on the Gorge
Originally whitewater rafting guides and outfitters on two of West Virginia’s famed rivers, the Gauley and the New, Adventures on the Gorge now is a full-service adventure resort providing numerous exhilarating outdoor activities.
Partake in a timbertrek aerial obstacle course, disc golf, hiking, mountain biking, paintball battles, swimming and ziplining on Adventures on the Gorge’s property. Adventurers are also bussed to New River Gorge National Park for rock climbing and whitewater rafting trips.
It is also OK to simply sit back in lounge chairs watching the river flow by from the rim of the New River Gorge.
All the world is a stage and it can be entertaining to relax enjoying the landscape around you. Sunrises and sunsets are especially stunning to take in on the New River Gorge.
Accommodations at Adventures on the Gorge
Options for overnight stays range from rustic tent campsites to luxury cabins. In between options include RV sites and bare bones cabins.
We “roughed it” in a sportsman cabin equipped with air-conditioning, beds with comfy mattresses, cable television, a full-size fridge, microwave, wi-fi, and a shower. Some cabins even have hot tubs!
There is something for everyone whether your preference is rugged campgrounds or resort-style accommodations when it comes to staying on property at Adventures on the Gorge.
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Whitewater Rafting for All Skill Levels
New River Gorge is one of the country’s best whitewater rafting spots thanks to its sandstone geography. The river erodes the rock, creating challenging rapids. The river flow is consistent and not dependent on mountain snowpack melt off.
There is a stretch of river for all skill levels in this area of West Virginia with both half-day and full-day excursions available through the resort. The options are:
- Class 1 and 2 rapids on Upper New River. These are generally safe trips for most ages and abilities.
- Class 3 rapids on the Lower New River. These are acceptable for beginning and casual rafters.
- Class 4 rapids on the Lower New River. These provide an intermediate adventure rafting challenge.
- Class 4 and 5 rapids on the Upper Gauley River. These rapids are challenging and are best for experienced rafters. During “Gauley Season” in September and October, the rapids are among the world’s most challenging, thanks to the rush of water that results when the Army Corps of Engineers drains the Summersville Dam.
I’m a lawyer, so I feel the need to remind that you are dealing with nature: there is always a level of danger when rafting. Someone could missteer the boat to crash into a rock; a bad bounce off waves could cause the raft to flip; or an off kilter plunge could wash someone into the water.
As an adventuring Traveling Dad, I also feel the need to note it is that element of risk and danger, as well as getting totally soaked, that makes whitewater rafting an adrenaline pumping experience.
Neither my son nor I had ever whitewater rafted before; but we went on this trip to go on an adventure, so jumped onboard for water rafting through Lower New River’s Class 3 and 4 rapids.
We had a great river guide named Ray Ray who has been leading Adventures on the Gorge whitewater rafting trips for more than a decade. Knowing that Adventures on the Gorge retains veteran guides rather than just hiring students who are off school for summer break added a level of confidence that we were in good hands embarking on our first whitewater rafting experience.
Ray Ray is both professional and personable, which are both particularly important traits when you are going to be in a small boat together for a day tackling some exciting but also potentially dangerous situations.
He’s part Disney Jungle Cruise Captain full of dad jokes and part drill sergeant barking out instructions and commands. He made sure our crew was not just having an enjoyable time but getting home safely. We all got soaking wet but there were no mishaps during our rafting trip.
The local geography is not just good for whitewater rafting. The rock formations on land are ideal for climbing. New River Gorge attracts climbing enthusiasts from around the world. My son loves rock climbing and he was very enthusiastic about doing this!
Adventures on the Gorge took us to a spot in the national park for our rock climbing excursion.
Our guide, Saul, was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about climbing. He made sure we were always putting safety first while also having an exciting adventure. Didn’t get upset by my asking “saul good man?” when questioning climbing surfaces. If he can put up with my TV show jokes you know he is a good guy.
Want an AoTG rock climbing guide who you will enjoy hanging with and provides confidence in your safety? Better call Saul!
A fear of heights is my kryptonite but our Appalachian Mountain road trip was all about getting outside of comfort zones and enjoying an adventure. I wasn’t going to miss out on joining in on the rock climbing experience. Glad I did!
New River Gorge Bridge
An engineering marvel, the New River Gorge Bridge is the longest single arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere. Standing 876 feet in the air, New River Gorge Bridge is the focal point for this region of West Virginia. Overlooks at Adventures on the Gorge resort provide exceptional views of the bridge.
To be really adventurous, take a trek across a catwalk that runs underneath the roadway for the length of the New River Gorge Bridge. Dangle your feet out over the river while you are high up in the sky. The view is spectacular!
TravelingDad Tip: Temperatures on the Bridge Walk will be about 20 degrees cooler than on the ground of New River Gorge. You may want to bundle up for the bridge walk.
Read more: New River Gorge Bridge Walk Details
In the early 20th Century, the New River Gorge was filled with industrial and residential buildings supporting coal mines in surrounding mountain slopes. Abandoned post-World War II, nature reclaimed much of this ground.
But for the curious, there are ruins to explore. We explored the remains of a 1920s era mining facility controlled by Henry Ford that provided coal to power his automobile manufacturing facilities.
To get there, we hiked through a waterfall-filled ravine where everything around us had an emerald tint to it from sunlight being filtered through a lush treetop canopy above us.
Arriving at the site there was a ghostly feel knowing the location once bustled with activity. Now there is only the sounds of chirping birds and our footsteps. The two of us felt like explorers uncovering the remains of a lost civilization.
Family Fun at Adventures on the Gorge
If adventure sports aren’t your thing, there are lots of other outdoor activities. Rafting through rapids and rappelling down cliffs don’t need to be on your agenda for a good time. There is plenty to do to keep all ages entertained during a family vacay:
- A playground with wild west fort and pirate ship play structures that will delight little ones.
- There is a pool to take a dip in.
- Take an excursion to Summersville Lake for pontoon boat rides, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.
- Enjoy the scenery of New River Gorge forests on a horseback ride.
- And who doesn’t love roasting marshmallows over a fire pit to make s’mores?!
Dining at Adventures on the Gorge
The adventure resort has two great restaurants on site. Chetty’s Pub has a lunch and dinner menu focused on chicken wings in variety of sweet and spicey flavors. Smokey’s features a breakfast buffet in the morning and has dining entrees such as salmon, filet mignon and BBQ platters in the evening.
While the area surrounding Adventures on the Gorge and New River Gorge National Park has the appeal of being a wilderness landscape, the town of Fayetteville is a 10-minute drive away. The town has a Walmart Supercenter with grocery section for those who want to cook their own meals.
Fast food options include Arbys, McDonalds and Taco Bell. Plus, downtown Fayetteville has a number of casual sit-down restaurants.
Bottom Line on AoTG
Whether craving adrenaline-pumping adventure sports, rustic camping, or an activity-filled family vacation, Adventures on the Gorge will provide a wildly fun time.
While New River Gorge may appear to be an out of the way place, it is within a 500 mile road trip friendly driving distance for 60% of the country’s population including Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, and Washington D.C. Additionally, it is easy to fly into the Charleston, West Virginia, airport an hour drive away.
My son and I challenged our comfort zones during these adventures on the Gorge and absolutely had a wildly fun time doing so. Not only was our road trip an entertaining, memory-making experience but sharing in these adventures was an incredible bonding opportunity.