Pressed for time in the New River Gorge? You can zip, fly, jet, roll, ride, jump, and sky walk in four hours or less. Make the most of your time and squeeze in one of these quickie adventures. On your mark, get set…. Go.
1. Pull Hammerheads & S-Turns
Time: 30 Minutes
Taking flight in an open cockpit 1940 Stearman biplane is not an opportunity that comes along very often. It also doesn’t take very long at all. Don’t worry, you’ll have time to take in the blanket of green that covers the New River Gorge area, gaze at the seemingly endless ribbon that is the New River, and admire the bridge before the aerobatics begin. They are optional, but how often do you get a chance to loop-de-loop in the sky, really?
Outfitter: Wild Blue Adventures
2. Hit 50 Miles Per Hour
Time: 3 Hours
Whereas canopy zipline tours include a visit in the treetops and all the nature sightings you might expect, Gravity zipline is all about zipping, plain and simple. The highest point is higher—199 feet—and the speed is much faster. How much? 50 mph is a good guess, although in the words of a guide, “well, I weigh in at 153 and I can clock 56 mph.”
Outfitter: Adventures on the Gorge, 888-650-1932
3. Jet Up the New River
Time: 45 Minutes
One of the best ways to see the bridge is from a jetboat on Hawks Nest Lake, even better when it’s a jetboat piloted by Rick Larson, who manages to deliver one liners he’s no doubt delivered a thousand times and still be honestly funny. He’s not a bad jetboat pilot, either. On a recent trip this writer actually got butterflies when he carved the jetboat into the tailwaves of Old Nasty rapid, our end point.
Outfitter: New River Jetboats, 304-469-2525
4. Roll Down a Hill
Time: 20 Minutes
Originating in New Zealand, Orbing is a kid’s wish made true: careening down a large inside a rubber ball. What makes it possible is an air pocket inside these orbs large enough for 3 human beings. Once you enter the pocket, they add a little water, then seal the bladder, and shove. The ride is “like a really fantastic water slide,” according to the guides. We would have to agree.
Outfitter: Orb the Gorge, 304-250-4555
5. Jump from a Plane
Time: 2 Hours
You’d be hard pressed to find a faster adventure than jumping from an airplane. Skydiving over the Gorge really takes only a few minutes. And what about the rest of the time we’ve allotted for this activity? It comes first, when you learn how to do it without becoming turkey vulture food.
Outfitter: Skydive NRG, 606-923-7475
6. Learn to Mountain Bike
Time: 2 Hours
Seasoned mountain bikers will tell you, there’s nothing better than tooling through the forest on two wheels. If you’ve never taken a bike off the pavement, you really need to give mountain biking a try. And if you are new to the sport, choosing the right trail is important—one without a ton of rocks or other obstacles. A few pointers help too, like how to look where you want to go, stay loose, and aim between the trees.
Outfitter: New River Mountain Bikes, 304-574-2453
7. Walk 851 Feet Up in the Sky
Time: 1.5 Hours
Walking the catwalk underneath the New River Gorge Bridge used to be illegal, but now it’s not. You get clipped in to a safety wire, which makes it all the better, so you can admire the bridge’s underside. Guides can give all sorts of interesting facts about the bridge, like how much it moves! There’s even time to hang out and check out how tiny the rafters look down below. Outfitter: Bridge Walk, 304-574-1300