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Part of the New River Gorge National River since 1990, Grandview was established in 1935 as a state park six air-miles northeast of Beckley, WV, in Raleigh County. The park and the adjacent community of Grandview take their names from sandstone cliffs here that provide spectacular views of the New River Gorge. Its “Main Overlook,” the focus of the park, provides one of the most famous panoramic vistas in West Virginia. Its “North Overlook” and “Turkey Spur Rock” observation areas are also among the park’s popular overlooks.

In summer, the park’s Cliffside Amphitheater hosts the historical outdoor dramas “Hatfields & McCoys” and “Honey in the Rock,” musical re-telling of the greatest of Appalachian feuds and of the formation of West Virginia during the Civil War.


New River Gorge

The New River Gorge of West Virginia is among the most spectacular river canyons and popular vacation destinations in the Eastern U.S. Largely protected by the U.S. National Park Service as the New River Gorge National River, the New River Gorge is among the newest units of the National Park System and is a primary destination for hiking, paddling, and climbing worldwide. The roaring New River and its forested, sandstone-capped canyons is traced by hundreds of miles of deep-forest trails.

Most canyons, such as those of the New River and its tributaries, are formed by long-time erosion from a plateau level. Cliffs, such as those along its rim at Grandview, Beauty Mountain, and Hawks Nest State Park develop as their harder strata, which is more resistant to weathering, remains exposed.

Eroded over more than three million years or 320 million years, various scientists have approximated, the gorge reaches depths of 1,300 feet and has been cut by the New River across the southern Allegheny Mountains. The gorge develops along the lower course of the New River, beginning just downstream of Hinton, WV and terminating at a point above Gauley Bridge, WV. Few communities exist in the gorge today within the boundaries of the national park service, notably Thurmond, WV. Virtually all of the more than 50 coal mining towns that once existed in the gorge are now ghost towns. The City of Beckley, WV, is the largest community in the New River Gorge region, though located some five miles from the canyon. Other incorporated communities in the New River Gorge region include Ansted, Oak Hill, Mount Hope, Meadow Bridge, and Fayetteville.

The “New River Gorge” By Definition

The boundaries of the New River Gorge National River, (i.e., the legal boundaries of the park area managed by the National Park Service (NPS)), has been defined by Federal legislation: In 1978, the New River Gorge National River was established as a unit of the National Park System to preserve and protect 53 miles of the New River Gorge between Hinton and Fayetteville.

The NPS definition of the legal boundary as national park includes only part New River Gorge as defined geographically. This larger area begins downstream of Hinton, in the south, and terminates at “Gauley” (map), about 1.5 miles upstream of Gauley Bridge, in the north, where a section known as The Narrows of the New River Gorge ends.

The canyon walls of The Narrows are walled by high hills, or precipitous cliffs rising almost from the water’s edge, leaving no bottoms or low grounds. The river bed of the at this point is rugged, and choked with masses boulders, tumbled from the cliffs above. At Kanawha Falls, two miles below Gauley, the hills along the river’s course tower 1,000 feet above. Prior to the completion of the Hawks Nest Dam in the early 1930s, this section of the New featured nearly continuous falls rapids. The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O), with considerable effort, managed to cut a shallow ledge along the south side of the New for its rail line, built through The Narrows during the 1870s.

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