4 Amazing Outdoor Adventures Near Beckley, West Virginia


Adventurers, take note! Beckley, West Virginia is home to some of the wildest whitewater rafting in the eastern half of the United States. For anyone looking for extreme thrills, it's worth a road trip, but adding in these other adventures on the side will help you enjoy the area for everything it has to offer.

Get Dirty Underground
Lots of travelers visit caves to enjoy formations like stalagmites and stalactites, but few tourist caves provide real spelunking trips. At Organ Cave, visitors can choose between standard tours or exciting expeditions. Pull on a pair of boots and wear your old clothes because soon you'll be crawling, climbing, and getting muddy. The reward for anyone brave enough to try it is access to remote locations and the chance to see an underground waterfall.

Enjoy Calm Mountain Lakes

summersville lake west virginia
Summersville Lake (Photo by Ken Thomas via Wikimedia)

Kayaking in whitewater is intense, but flat water paddling is great for everyone. Even though it's another day on the water, it is a different rhythm centered around beautiful views. Ace Adventure Resort offers half-day and full-day trips to Summersville Lake, which is great for anyone who needs a little instruction. After your trip, you can head back to their campsites and cabins to get a good night's rest before joining another activity they offer the next day, like mountain biking or ziplining.

Throw on a Harness
When it comes to a gorge, the best views are from the top, but it's not always easy to get there! With Hard Rock Climbing Services, you earn those views by rock climbing on the area's cliffs and rock walls. Experienced instructors will assist you as you work your way up. After you take a breather to enjoy the view, you'll be able to rappel down. Just like hiking, there are classic routes throughout this region and you'll check out some of the best for your skill level.

Hike Near the New River Gorge
new river gorge bridge wv
New River Gorge Bridge (Photo by Donnie Nunley via Wikimedia)

The New River Gorge National River is protected by the National Park Service so trails criss-cross the area. With hikes ranging from ten minutes to a full day, everyone will find one that fits their preferences. Try the Endless Wall Trail, just 2.4 miles long, for expansive views of the gorge and surrounding forest. Travelers in the area in mid-October should keep an eye out for Bridge Day festivities: once a year, the New River Gorge Bridge is open to pedestrians.

Although whitewater rafting is the first draw to this part of West Virginia for many travelers, it's worth planning a longer stay so you have the chance to see the other activities that make this area special.

Becky Pokora is an avid outdoorswoman who spends her weekends seeking new adventures. From her home in Virginia, the Gauley River Region is a favorite repeat spot for getaways and thrills. You can find more of her adventures on her blog, The Girl and Globe.