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Wild Life

Mother nature’s finest masterpieces will be preserved for generations to come. Come see why these scenic wilderness lands are our country’s most prized.

Nature Exploration

There's plenty to uncover in the National Parks forests. Set out to find the tumbling waterfalls hidden in the hills. Keep your eyes open for rare birds and wildlife, or just enjoy the bold colors of the flowers and trees. If you know which plants are safe, you can even forage for tasty natural treats. A geocaching  journey (geocaching is a GPS-based scavenger hunt you can play online) can take you completely off-the-beaten path, out to the uncharted sections of the forests. Capture that scenic beauty with a photo. How do you connect with nature in the National Parks?

Discover the wilderness >
  • Recommended Age: Any
  • Activity Time: Year-Round
  • Special Notes:

Ranger Programs

Curious about the botany, wildlife, culture and history of the National Parks? Join the experts to learn more about the region's unique features. From guided hikes to special events, there's always something on the calendar. Plan a trip for in-depth events like Hidden History Weekend or Wildflower Weekend, or bring the kids for an engaging, hands-on lesson about the environment. You can even help protect the parks' beauty by joining the team for stream checks, weed pulling, cleanup and more. New River Gorge programs  |  Bluestone programs

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  • Recommended Age: Any
  • Activity Time: Varies; year-round
  • Special Notes: All programs are free.

Birding & Wildlife

The National Parks are a birdwatcher's paradise. Spot neo-tropical birds as they migrate through or rare, shy creatures like Swainson's warbler. Even majestic eagles are known to skim the skies overhead, especially in the Bluestone. Can you spot everything on the birding checklist?

Deer, chipmunks and foxes roam the forests. Around the riverbed, you might spot a furry otter or a "snot otter," a rare giant salamander that can grow up to 2 feet long. Join experts at the annual New River Birding and Nature Festival, or set out on your own wildlife search! (Just be careful and don't interrupt these wild critters.)  

Discover WV's wildlife >
  • Recommended Age: any
  • Activity Time: year-round
  • Special Notes:

Fishing & Hunting

The New River has been named among the Top 5 Fishing Rivers in the US, full of smallmouth bass. Smallmouth, rock bass and bluegill are common catches in the Bluestone River. More smallmouth and muskie roam the Gauley River. Deer and turkey are popular game in West Virginia, and hunting is also permitted in all 3 parks. Local outfitters can show you all the best spots. Find a guide below:

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  • Recommended Age: 6 and older
  • Activity Time: Year-round, but best in summer and fall
  • Special Notes: Make sure you have the proper licenses.