Associated Press Published

Here's What You Need to Know Before Climbing at the New River Gorge National Park


National Park Service officials say the New River Gorge National River is one of the largest climbing areas in the eastern U.S. Officials are hosting an event to raise awareness about park climbing rules. 

There are 1,400 established rock climbing routes in the New River Gorge National River. As the weather warms up and more people start to take on the outdoors, officials are encouraging safety and proper climbing.

Safety Tips from the National Park Service:

  • Make sure all of your gear is in good, working condition.
  • Never climb alone.
  • Watch for falling rocks and be careful about dropping rocks on people below.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Take drinking water.
  • Hunting is allowed within this park; wearing blaze orange is recommended during hunting season.
  • Be able to identify the two species of venomous snakes here, the copperhead and timber rattlesnake. Be careful where you reach. Snakes may hide in crevices in rock faces.
  • Be able to identify poison ivy.
  • Open cliffs are very dangerous during a lightning storm; seek safe shelter away from the rim and tall trees.

You can find more safety tips on the National Park Service website.

Guidelines and Regulations

  • Leave historical and natural objects undisturbed for the next visitor.
  • The use of motorized drills is by permit only.
  • Do not trespass on private property.
  • Park only in designated parking areas.
  • Use existing trails whenever possible.
  • Pets must be on a leash.
  • Pack it in, pack it out.

The Park Service is hosting an event to help visitors understand rules that apply to climbing activities.
Climbers are encouraged to meet at the Canyon Rim Center on Friday 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  Instructors are expected to go over climbing rules for the New River Gorge National River and the Gauley River National Recreation Area.

A presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. You can also find National Park Service climbing rules on the National Park Service website.