The New River, located a short drive from your hotel in West Jefferson North Carolina is one of the only rivers to flow North through the states of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The New River is the third oldest river in the world and only river that crosses the Appalachian mountains. The new river eventually flows into the Kanawha River in south central West Virginia where it then flows into the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and on towards the Gulf of Mexico. The river has been used even for providing hydroelectric power production.
One of the numerous opportunities the New River provides is white water rafting, canoeing, tubing, and kayaking adventures from North Carolina to West Virginia. Few highways cross the New River except for one the New River Gorge Bridge on US 19. The bridge is a large steel arch bridge spanning 1,700 feet across the river, while driving the roadway 876 feet, almost 1000 feet above the river. New River Gorge Bridge structure is the third-longest arch bridge in the world, and is also fourth highest in the America.
The New river is sometimes said to be second in age only to the Nile River and thus the oldest in North America. It existed before the mountains through which it now passes and, for millions of years, its waters have followed essentially the same course. Many stretches of the New flow through remote countryside not easily accessible by road or trail. A view of the New River is a look back in time to primeval eras before man existed, to the days of Native Americans who used the waterway as an avenue for migration and trade, and to the times of early European settlers who came to farm and mine the land, and to cut the forests.
Here in Ashe county the north and south forks of the New River flow north from headwaters in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Winding more than 100 miles through forested mountains and pastoral valleys, the forks join just a few miles south of the North Carolina-Virginia line.
In order to protect this historic river and the scenic area surrounding it, the North Carolina General Assembly, on May 26, 1975, declared the 26.5-mile stretch of the river from its confluence with Dog Creek to the Virginia state line a State Scenic River. In April, 1976, the Secretary of the Interior designated the same portion of the river as a part of the National Wild and Scenic River System. This action was reaffirmed by an act of Congress, and construction of the dam and reservoirs was prohibited. Thus, the New River was preserved and a state park established along its scenic corridor.