West Virginia gold: Fall at New River Gorge Bridge

Lovely fall foliage enhances the beauty of New River.

Lovely fall foliage enhances the beauty of New River.

The second leg of our Fall 2015 search for gold meant leaving the beauty of West Virginia’s Pipestem Resort State Park for one of the state’s proudest prouds:  New River Gorge Bridge.  But getting there was a treat in itself.

Fall foliage at New River Gorge Bridge

Fall foliage at New River Gorge Bridge

As you know from some of our other posts, we brake for scenery — some planned, some random with a screeching, “pull-over-here” shout-out from one of us to the other.  Like the stop at Bluestone Dam where we chatted with fishermen dropping lines into rushing waters.  Catching anything? I asked.  Whatever’ll bite, one guy said, grinning.

Early morning at Bluestone Dam in West Virginia

Early morning at Bluestone Dam in West Virginia

Fishermen at Bluestone Dam

Catching anything? I asked. Whatever’ll bite, one guy said, grinning.

We most always stop where lookouts are set up by the park service — like the overlook to Sandstone Falls.  We stop.  Get out.  Read markers.  Take pictures.  But here, we lingered.  It was the sound of rushing water and the frame of fall colors — a welcome delay.

Sandstone Falls, West Virginia

Sandstone Falls, West Virginia

Next stop — our destination:  New River Gorge National River.  And after roaming through the National Park Service Visitor Center (highly recommend!) to take a look at the map and watch the video, we braved the wooden walkways and stairs (lots of stairs) with glimpses of the river on several levels.

Taking memorable pictures is easy at New River Gorge Bridge where there's beauty at every turn.

Taking memorable pictures is easy at New River Gorge Bridge where there’s beauty at every turn.

And then the view opened up to what we came to see:  New River Gorge Bridge.  One of the longest (3030 feet) single-arch steel span bridges in the world, the New River Gorge Bridge rises 876 feet above New River — a structure that’s massive, elegant, and truly iconic.

New River Gorge Bridge, October 2015

New River Gorge Bridge, October 2015

We missed Bridge Day by a week.  But from what we’ve heard and read, thousands of visitors walk across the closed-to-traffic bridge to watch jumpers parachute and to enjoy the views from a vantage point not available any other time.  We stood a long while gazing at that bridge and then took our time climbing all those steps back up, stopping at almost every landing.  (Not tired, of course.  We just wanted to take in the autumn beauty!)

As we journeyed toward Beckley, another find presented itself:  Hawks Nest State Park from a beautiful stone overlook.

View of Hawks Nest State Park

View of Hawks Nest State Park

As if one serendipitous find weren’t enough, a small sign on a random rural road in Greenbrier County directed us to the charming Herns Mill Bridge.

Herns Mill Bridge, Greenbrier County, W. Virginia

Herns Mill Bridge, Greenbrier County, W. Virginia

Adventures have a way of finding us when we 1) get off the beaten path and 2) keep our eyes open.  And, oh yes, it helps that we have good brakes!

Hope you’ll continue our Fall Tour 2015.    Next up:  Colors of The Greenbrier.

And if want to see fall color next year, remember this state:  West Virginia!

Travel spontaneously,

Bert and Rusha




About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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26 Responses to West Virginia gold: Fall at New River Gorge Bridge

  1. I love those beautiful autumn colours.

  2. I don’t know this area Rusha, but it looks interesting. A couple of weeks ago we did a 5 day camping trip and camped near Huntington, WV. We were there to do a bit of leaf-peeping and probably take our last camping trip of the year. Since moving north, this is our first real autumn in a long time, and we wanted to take full advantage of it. In fact, it’s one of the reasons we came back from our Balkans trip. We wanted to stay longer and could have, but we didn’t want to miss the fall. And BTW, the Hern’s Mill Bridge has to be one of the smallest that I’ve seen. ~James

    • So glad you are back in a four-season area — fall is one of our favorite times of the year! We had hoped to get to New England for the first time during autumn, but a wedding in Texas nixed those plans. WV was a great second choice — no prettier state when leaves turn golden. And that little bridge was definitely a find. Bert and I have one thing in common, especially now that we have a GPS to get us back on track: we love to get off the main roads to see little markers like the one directing us to this lovely covered bridge. It’s travel as we know and love it — finding the unusual, the overlooked, and the terrific in small places!

  3. Though I’m your neighbor in Virginia, I’ve never been to the New River Gorge. Thanks for introducing it to me. I’ll have to put it on my list. It looks beautiful. 🙂

    • It’s an absolutely lovely part of the state, and I hope you get there in any season. I can only imagine what Bridge Day would be like, but if I were more adventurous, I’d be there to bungee jump, parachute, or whatever! Best wishes for a great fall!

  4. Kaylene Yee says:

    Thanks for sharing……gorgeous pictures and sights! I love fall and all its colors. Will have to remember West Virginia when we consider a road trip sometime in the fall!

  5. Enjoying the tour, Bert and Rusha. A while back I wandered up and down the Oregon Coast checking out bridges, many that were built during the Depression to help employ people. They add rather than detract from the natural beauty, like the ones you captured. –Curt

    • There’s just something about bridges, physically and metaphorically. I loved the ones we saw on this trip from the highly engineered structure of the New River Gorge Bridge to the tiny covered bridges that are still standing. As always, we appreciate your taking the time to journey with us and leave comments.

  6. Jodi says:

    OH SOOOO beautiful!!!!

    • Jodi, thanks for taking the time to check out our blog and enjoy the scenery in West Virginia. Hope your fall is going great — from what you’re cooking to whatever you are doing. It’s great to hear from people all over!

  7. Pit says:

    Wonderful pictures: thx for sharing,

  8. tappjeanne says:

    Beautiful photos Rusha! Thank you for sharing. West Virginia in the fall is now on my bucket list.

  9. Lovely area. The gorge and covered bridge shots are wonderful. 🙂

  10. Touring NH says:

    Beautiful bridges. Getting off the beaten path often leads to wonderful surprises.

  11. Dawn says:

    The best part of any road trip is straying from the ‘agenda’ and seeing what’s out there. Lucky us that you did that!

  12. thepaperbaker says:

    Thank you for taking me on vacation with you! Your photos are fabulous 😉

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