America’s newest national park is a spectacular one! The New River Gorge National Park & Preserve in West Virginia was so designated at the tail end of 2020, making it the 63rd national park in the United States.
With its remarkable natural attractions—namely the deepest river gorge east of the Mississippi River—and opportunities for outdoor adventure, New River Gorge National Park will surely be a popular place for RV camping trips for years to come.
Read on to get the scoop on visiting this pretty area of the country. Find New River Gorge National Park facts, best times to visit and things to do in this guide.
New River Gorge National Park Facts
New River Gorge is an outdoor lover’s playground, offering a bountiful array of activities in a picturesque setting. Before you pack your hiking bag, learn a bit about this new addition to America’s national parks.
- New River Gorge National Park encompasses 70,000 acres alongside 53 miles of the New River in West Virginia.
- The New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world, cutting through the Appalachian Plateau. It’s even older than the Appalachian Mountains themselves!
- Dropping 750 feet in elevation in 50 miles, the New River is one of the country’s renowned areas for whitewater rafting and kayaking.
- The park’s Appalachian Forest is a unique ecosystem, home to endangered and rare animals, including the Virginia big-eared bat, Indiana bat and Allegheny woodrat.
- Red Ash Island in the park was once used to quarantine people during a smallpox epidemic in the late 1800s.
Best New River Gorge National Park RV Parks and Campground
Primitive RV camping in New River Gorge National Park is on a first-come, first-serve basis
, while more developed RV parks with water and electrical hookups can be found outside the park. Here are a few of the best options for RV camping near New River Gorge National Park.
Army Camp at New River Gorge National Park
Like all of the RV camping in New River Gorge National Park, Army Camp is primitive camping, with no hookups and limited restroom facilities. But there are plenty of opportunities for disconnecting and enjoying nature! Army Camp is located on a gravel road, off of Route 41 near Prince. Reservations are not accepted, and camping here is free.
11 RV sites
More information: Army Camp at New River Gorge National Park
Babcock State Park
Next on the list of RV parks near New River Gorge National Park RV sites is Babcock State Park. Located north of New River Gorge National Park, this park offers electrical hookups. Water and dumping stations are available in the campground as well as firewood and ice for purchase. This is a large state park, with 4,127 acres for fishing, boating and hiking.
28 RV sites
More information: Babcock State Park
Little Beaver State Park
This small state park to the south of New River Gorge National Park features an 18-acre lake popular for fishing. Campground amenities include a large bathhouse with laundry facilities. Some campsites have electric and water hookups, while others have just water. A dumping station is available.
46 RV sites
More information: Little Beaver State Park
Find your home away from home at Rifrafters Campground. Each 30 or 50 amp campsite has a fire ring and picnic table; some have WiFi and cable hookups. A dump station is on site at this RV campground near New River Gorge National Park. Amenities include a bathhouse, laundry room and playground if you’re camping with kids
. Other offerings include firewood and ice for sale.
24 RV sites
More information: Rifrafters Campground
Adventures on the Gorge
To close off our list of RV parks near New River Gorge National Park, let’s visit Adventures on the Gorge. This is not only a spot to overnight (in addition to RV sites, it has cabins and cottages), but it’s a resort with a swimming pool, restaurants and activities like whitewater rafting. Each RV site has a fire ring and electrical hookup. Water and dumping stations are not available.
4 RV sites
More information: Adventures on the Gorge
Best Time to Visit New River Gorge National Park for RV Camping
This national park is open year-round, and its fans would say any time is the best time to visit New River Gorge National Park! That said, some activities are really best enjoyed in the warm-weather months. No matter when you visit, be aware that weather in the Appalachian Mountains can change on a dime, and storms can seemingly appear out of nowhere, so pack and be prepared accordingly!
Here’s are some things to consider in the various seasons:
Plan to bundle up if you visit New River Gorge National Park between December and February when the average high temperature might be 40 degrees Fahrenheit in Beckley, West Virginia. You’ll encounter fewer crowds in the winter months, but there may also be additional road and trail closures. With enough snow cover, cross-country skiing can be a lovely activity to enjoy in the winter.
With snow runoff in the spring, the New River will be rushing fast—which can be exhilarating to watch (just keep water safety in mind). Spring also brings wildflowers; check out this photo gallery
of flowers you might spot in April and May when high temperatures might reach around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
The summer months bring the warmest temperatures of the season; the average high temperature in July is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. But, July also brings the most rain—an average of about five inches of precipitation. So, in addition to a bathing suit for enjoying a refreshing dip in the New River, you may want to pack a rain jacket!
September is a glorious time to visit New River Gorge National Park, with a seasonal high temperature around 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures start to drop a bit more in October, but you’ll enjoy the changing leaves and the explosion of color in the wooded areas, from golden yellow to bright orange to fiery red.
Things to Do in New River Gorge National Park
The New River is the centerpiece of any RV camping trip to this area of West Virginia, but there are loads of other things to do in New River Gorge National Park that aren’t water-based. Here’s a peek of all the fun you can have:
- Go whitewater rafting: A number of commercial outfitters offer guided rafting trips on the New and Gauley Rivers. Go as mild or wild as you like, as trips range from more mellow floats to challenging trips down multiple rapids.
- Hit the trails: Hiking trails throughout the park range from a quarter-mile to seven miles long, short nature trails to longer, steeper treks. Along the way, see waterfalls, admire vast views from overlooks and explore old mining town remnants.
- Toss in a line: Fishing opportunities abound in New River Gorge National Park. Anglers might catch bass, walleye, bluegill, carp or catfish. So add this to your list of fishing spots to check out!
- Drive amid gorgeous scenery: Scenic drives throughout the park feature wonderful vistas of the dramatic canyon carved by the New River, as well as marvelous waterfalls. Be sure to check out the scenic driving guide provided by the national park.
- Snap photos of the New River Gorge Bridge: This beautiful bridge spanning the river can be viewed from the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. Alternatively, you can drive along Fayette Station Road to view and photograph it from below.
Tips on Visiting New River Gorge National Park
Have we convinced you to plan some RV camping near New River Gorge National Park? Here ere are a few more tips:
- Be prepared to dry camp. Remember, if you want to camp in the park, sites are primitive—you’ll be boondocking with no hookups.
- Be mindful when around water. It’s paramount to keep water safety top of mind when visiting the park. The New River can be dangerous, with swift currents and changing water levels. Personal flotation devices (PFDs) are a must when recreating on the river.
- Plan ahead for trail hiking. Before your visit, read up on road and trail closures so you don’t have any surprises when you make your way to and around this national park.
- Respect the environment. As is recommended in all national and state recreation areas, make sure you pack out your trash, hike only on designated trails and don't feed wild animals.
Discover New River Gorge National Park in a Cruise America RV!
If you’re ready to book an RV campground near New River Gorge National Park but still need an RV, you might like to browse the RV rentals from Cruise America
Vehicles come in multiple sizes and models to accommodate your group, whether you’re a couple, a few friends or a larger family. There are also rental locations throughout the country, so you can pick up your RV rental, hit the road and then return the vehicle from a spot that’s convenient for you.
Got questions? Contact Cruise America
today, and a knowledgeable specialist can answer any questions about your RV rental for your New River Gorge National Park vacation!