Fayetteville, WV, is a launchpad for some of the best fall adventures on the East Coast.
Tucked beside the vast Southern WV National Parks along the New River Gorge, this adventure epicenter is surrounded by world-class climbing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and more.
And when the fall color gets the most bold and vibrant, so does the adventure scene.
Explore the 3 most unique highlights of the season with a trip to Fayetteville:
1. Paddling a World Top 10 River
The Gauley River is world-famous for its big whitewater waves, but you have to catch it now. The water is usually only high enough for rafting during dam releases in September and October. Its legendary, one-of-a-kind “Big 5” rapids include the “best 10 seconds of whitewater” and a 14-foot waterfall.
If you go: A trip with a professional whitewater guide will help less experienced paddlers enjoy these wild waves safely. Start with a ride on on the nearby Lower New River to learn the basics. (You might want to reserve a cabin with a hot tub to relax afterward, too!)
2. The Largest Sports Festival of Its Kind
The 3rd Saturday each October, the New River Gorge becomes one of only a handful places you can BASE jump in the world. 400 parachuters head to the event to leap 876 feet off the bridge into the gorge below, and more than 80,000 spectators watch the show.
There’s more to see: rappellers lower themselves into the gorge, skydivers perform stunts overhead, rafters ride the whitewater below and more.
If you go: Browse the vendors and artisans at the festival. If you’re inspired to get into the adventure, take the highline, or walk the catwalk under the bridge. Want to jump? You might be lucky enough to score one of the limited number of tandem leaps.
3. The Mountain State’s Most Scenic Overviews
There’s nothing quite as vibrant as the fall mountains on fire with color. Take a hike along the ridges of the canyon. The Endless Wall Trail was named the #1 National Park hike by USA Today, and Long Point trail will lead you out to some stunning scenic views. For a more relaxing overview, ride the aerial trams over Hawk’s Nest State Park.
For a unique thrill, nothing can take you higher than a plane. Skydiving will send you sailing smoothly over the mountainscapes, and Wild Blue Adventure Company has a more playful option: a WWII biplane stunt ride.
If you go: Be sure to ask around town for more to see. The locals know all sorts of secluded spots to explore, and are eager to share.
Fall’s Finest Mountain Fun
Adventure isn’t Fayetteville’s only fall feature. Round out your road trip with pumpkin patches, scenic drives, train rides and more.
Here are all the top fall highlights around Fayetteville, and across West Virginia to explore along the way:
Explore all of WV’s Fall Best.