Include these state parks in your visit to the New River Gorge

Planning a trip to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve? America’s newest national park abounds with outdoor recreation opportunities and stunning vistas. But did you know that several West Virginia State Parks also dot the region? Our state parks offer cozy accommodations, mountain adventures and unparalleled views. Start planning your next trip to the area and get ready for one-of-a-kind experiences and lasting memories.

Northern Rim of the Gorge

The New River Gorge covers a huge area, so don’t feel like you need to see it all in one day. Plan your stay over several days so you have time to see and do everything you want. Starting at the northern end of the park, you’ll want to stop at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center to learn about area attractions and activities. In this area you’ll find attractions like Summersville Lake, historic Thurmond and “America’s Coolest Small Town,” Fayetteville. There are also three state parks awaiting your visit.

Just 10 miles north of the New River Gorge Bridge, Hawks Nest State Park is known for its stunning overlooks of the gorge. Visitors can book a breezy jet boat ride on the New River or hike trails that wind through the woods. The park features a 31-room lodge that has been updated to make overnight stays and visits to Hawks Nest feel even more like coming home. And the best thing about staying at Hawks Nest is that most rooms come with picturesque views and tasty dining options.

Located 20 miles southeast of the New River Gorge Bridge, Babcock State Park is best known for the old-world charm of Glade Creek Grist Mill, a fully functional replica of the original Cooper’s Mill that once stood on the grounds. Park activities include hiking, fishing and mountain biking. Overnight accommodations include 28 cozy cabins of the CCC era tucked away in the woods or along the bank of the rippling waters of Glade Creek. Babcock also has a 52-unit campground.

A 20-minute drive from the park’s northern rim, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park sits on the rim of the Gauley River Canyon, offering scenic views of the Gauley River. As part of the Civil War Discovery Trail, the park commemorates the 1861 Battle of Carnifex Ferry, a major Union victory that led to the eventual Confederate withdrawal from western Virginia. The day-use park has hiking trails, picnic areas and a museum showcasing park history.

Southern Rim of the Gorge

Start your southern adventure at the Sandstone Visitor Center near Hinton to discover more to see and do in the area, including the Grandview Overlook, Sandstone Falls and the historic railroad town of Hinton. You’ll also find two state parks nearby.

Overlooking the Bluestone River Gorge, Pipestem Resort State Park is 25 miles from the Sandstone Visitor Center. You’ll find plenty to do at Pipestem, including Pipestem Peaks Zip Line, a Splash Park and Adventure Lake, guided tubing and ducky trips, and much more. The park has two lodges, McKeever Lodge on the rim of the Bluestone Gorge, and Mountain Creek Lodge on the bank of the Bluestone River. Cabins and camping accommodations also are available. 

Just a 30-minute drive from the New River Gorge southern rim, Bluestone State Park is a haven for boating and fishing. The 2,040-acre lake is prime territory for bass, catfish, crappie and bluegill. Public boat launches are available and fishing boats, pontoon boats, kayaks and canoes are available for rent at Bluestone marina. The park has 26 cabins set in a wooded area, some with views of Bluestone Lake. The campgrounds are open spring through fall, weather permitting.

Plan your New River Gorge getaway

Visit for more information or to reserve lodging in state parks near the New River Gorge. If you plan on fishing, a proper license and stamps are required and may be purchased at And if you’re a waterfall wanderer, visit to download a free West Virginia Waterfall mobile passport. Check in at waterfalls you visit throughout the state and earn prizes! Several waterfalls are located within the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, as well as at Hawks Nest, Babcock and Pipestem Resort state parks.

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