New River Gorge National River
This river is located just 18 miles from campus. As a unit of the National Park System, 70,000 acres along the New River are protected. It boasts one of the most diverse plant species assemblages of any river gorge in the southern Appalachians.
- Whitewater rafting – The upper part of the river has relatively easy rapids while the lower section is known for powerful, colossal rapids.
- Rock climbing – There are over 1,400 established rock climbs. The cliffs are made from very hard sandstone and range from 30 to 120 feet.
- Less strenuous – Enjoy bird watching, hiking, picnicking, and fishing.
- Educational – Tour the abandoned coal mines, company towns, tipples and coke ovens which are remnants from the recent Industrial Age. Rangers also offer educational tours from late spring through fall.
Babcock State Park
Adjacent to the New River Gorge National River is Babcock State Park, which offers 4,127 acres of serene, yet rugged beauty. A fast flowing trout stream in a boulder-strewn canyons and mountainous vistas can be viewed from several scenic overlooks.
- Boley Lake – Paddleboats, rowboats, and canoes are available for rent at the marina. Good fishing abounds at this 19-acre lake.
- Horseback Riding – Throughout the summer, horseback riding and pony rides for children are available.
- Game courts – The park features horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, tennis courts and basketball courts.
- The Glade Creek Grist Mill – This was built as a re-creation of one, which once ground grain on Glade Creek long before Babcock became a state park. Visitors can take home freshly ground cornmeal and buckwheat flour.
- Accommodations – Cabins, cottages, and bungalows are available for rent.
- Hiking trails – There are over 20 miles of scenic trails.
The Gauley River National Recreation Area
Just 20 minutes from the college sits rapids that are so vigorous they are often called one of the premier whitewater runs in the world. Protected by the National Park Service, this area includes 25 miles of the Gauley River and five miles of the Meadow River.
- The Gauley River drops more than 668 feet through 28 miles of rugged terrain.
- The river features more than 100 rapids with a steep gradient.
- Sections of the river are popular for fishing.
- A primitive camping site is located below the Summersville Dam.
- The Army Corps of Engineers has full-service camping available at Summersville Lake.