The Gauley Bridge, at the junction of the New and Gauley rivers, was the key to the Kanawha Valley during the Civil War. In November 1861, Union General W.S. Rosecrans defeated Confederate General John B. Floyd, a victory that assured Union control of western Virginia. Stone piers of the old bridge, which were destroyed by retreating Confederate in 1861, can be seen near the present-day bridge.
The Gauley Bridge community offers an auto service center, churches for all faiths, a U.S. Post Office, a bank, a public library, hotels, and more. Visitors to the community will be able to enjoy a magnificent view of the mountains while watching the New River and the Gauley River merge together to form the Kanawha River. If you enjoy fishing, don’t forget to bring your tackle box!
Kanawha Falls (pictured to the left) is located on the Kanawha River alongside US Route 60 about a mile west of Gauley Bridge and the campground, and about 21 miles east of I64/77. The site is popular with fishermen. The falls is only 15’ high, but it is very wide. The falls is broken into a number of distinct sections, depending on the water levels. There is a low dam above the falls.
Cathedral Falls (pictured to the right) is located near the community of Gauley Bridge at mile 38 of US Route 60 (less than a mile east of the campground) you can view this 60-foot cataract as it roars into its own little cathedral cut into the rock over time. There is parking and a few covered shelters with a picnic table.
The New River Gorge Bridge (pictured to the left) is a steel-arched bridge, in Fayetteville, West Virginia (about 16 miles from the campground). With a length of 3,030 feet (924 m), it was for many years the longest in the world of that type. Its arch extends 1,700 feet (518 m). Part of U.S. Highway 19, it is crossed by an average of 16,200 motor vehicles per day.
The New River Gorge Bridge carries US Highway 19 over the New River at a height of 876 feet (267 m), making it the highest vehicular bridge in the Americas, and the second-highest in the world. Before 2004 opening of the Millau Viaduct in France, it was the highest in the world.
The bridge is the centerpiece of Fayette County’s “Bridge Day”, during which the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic. Until recently, the bridge was half-open, with two way traffic. Security concerns have prompted the closing of the entire span to vehicles during the festival. This festival includes demonstrations of rappelling, ascending & BASE jumping, and is held every October on the third Saturday. Bungee jumping has been banned from Bridge Day since an accident in 1993. The bridge is within the New River Gorge National River and the National Park Service operates a visitor center at the northern end of the bridge with scenic overlooks and a staircase that partially descends into the gorge.