Since 1972, River Expeditions’ seasoned river guides have organized whitewater-rafting trips down the New River and the Gauley River in southern West Virginia’s scenic Appalachian Mountains. There’s a stretch of water for all ages and skill levels, from those looking for a scenic float to paddlers craving a soaked-to-the-bone thrill ride. In addition to day trips, River Expeditions also offers overnight excursions, which typically include camping on the riverbank, cooking out beneath the stars, and paying off local owls to guard the food at night.
River Expeditions can also arrange horseback riding, ziplining, mountain biking, fishing, and ATV tours.
Rivermen's New River rafting trips guide amateurs and avid aquanauts alike through some of the most scenic whitewater rapids of New River Gorge National River. Reverential rafters can drink up hearty eyefuls of the gorge and its abundant wildlife, weathered bluffs, and recognizable bridge, as seen on the West Virginia state Pog and quarter. The upper river excursion (4–6 hours, $124) traverses canyons on relatively mild waters punctuated by a few easy rapids. Easily navigable by group raft or inflatable duck (a kayak-like vessel that holds 1–2 people), the upper trip makes an enjoyable introduction to whitewater for families, beginner to intermediate rafters, and adolescent Loch Ness monsters. The lower route (4–6 hours, $134) quickens the pulse with more than 25 rapids, as well as tranquil pools and the requisite breathtaking scenery. Both tours will stop to provide lunch.
West Virginia's New River Gorge beckons thrill-seekers and nature-lovers alike with a stretch of unspoiled nature, and Adventures on the Gorge rests on the rim to make sure they find it. Blending quiet country peace with adrenaline-pumping excitement, the resort has a little something for everyone. Whitewater rafting expeditions, for instance, send paddlers of all skill levels across the rolling rapids and peaceful stretches of the Lower New River and the Gauley River. Ziplines, on the other hand, lift nature explorers into the canopy, and the TimberTrek Aerial Park lets guests navigate the forest the same way squirrels do—on a series of ziplines, swings, and bridges.
So that guests never have to leave, Adventures on the Gorge tends to all their creature comforts. Cabins nestled in the woods contain comfy couches and even hot tubs, whereas campgrounds allow people to get back to their simpler roots. Yet no matter where they stay, guests can swing into the onsite restaurants and pubs to grab a cold one and avoid the hassle of cooking a casserole over a fire.
The rock bridge spans more than 100 feet in length, arching to a height of 50 feet as it connects to the opposing shores of the Hocking River. As kayakers glide beneath it, they look up at eons of natural history: a bridge carved out by centuries of glacial waters that eroded the sandstone away particle by particle. They gaze up at the awesome spectacle until a white-tailed deer dashes along the shore, stealing their focus.
Hocking Hills Adventures' outdoor enthusiasts continue to provide connections to moments such as these, just as they have for more than 30 years. The staff furnishes gear such as canoes and inner tubes for river trips, during which sportsmen may glimpse river dwellers such as leatherback turtles and kingfishers sneaking sandwiches from unsuspecting picnickers. Dedicated to keeping the river clean for future generations, the staff also regularly engages in conservation efforts, including sponsorship of the annual Hocking River Cleanup
Back at the fun center, crews oversee amusements that range from go-kart rides to mini golf. With such a multiplicity of diversions, Hocking Hills' team often customizes recreational packages for its guests that combine several activities. To help visitors enjoy the area for more than a day, the grounds also affords outdoorsmen lodging, including riverside campgrounds and Amish camper cabins.