Canyon Rim Visitor Center, New River Gorge
There are a few images that pop into my mind when I think in general terms about West Virginia and one of them is the New River Gorge bridge. It’s the place where hundreds gather for Bridge Day in October. But for the most part, people zip over it on their way to and fro and may never see the beauty underneath.
We thought a road trip was in order to get a better glimpse of the bridge, the gorge and the history surrounding the area. Driving down the Midland Trail, Rt. 60, we take the winding country roads to Rt. 19 and stop at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. According to their website, this center averages over 300,000 visitors per year. When you walk in you are greeted by a warm, modern interior with handmade quilts hanging from the exposed beams on the ceiling. There is a nice gift shop area with souvenirs, books, music and movies from and about West Virginia.
Immediately we go to the large, floor to ceiling windows that overlook the gorge and are in awe of the beauty and majesty of the mountains and winding river below. We go out onto the boardwalk area to get some fresh air and read the descriptive signs of what we were seeing. We are able to view the tiny dots of white water rafters approaching the foamy waters while hawks flew above them. Little did they know how many eyes were upon them as their hearts pumped with excitement.
Back inside, after a few photos were snapped, we walked through the well-done, self guided tour depicting how the bridge was built, the flora and fauna of the surrounding area and the heritage of the people who call this land their home. It was amazing and terrifying to imagine the brave men who repelled down the mountains and hung off the beams they laid, dangling from some rope and a few boards.
The Canyon Rim Visitor Center is a great place to catch a great view, a glimpse into the heritage and history of the area and make a pit stop when passing through the area.
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