No matter the season, Hawks Nest State Park is renowned for its breathtaking view of the New River Gorge. While this park is not part of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, Hawks Nest is adjacent to the National Park. At just 10 miles north of the New River Gorge Bridge near Ansted, West Virginia, its location on the New River and the nearby Gauley River National Recreation Area puts it at the heart of one of the country's most challenging whitewater rafting areas.
Bridge Day at the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in Fayetteville, West Virginia, is a festival that encapsulates West Virginia's slogan 'Wild and Wonderful.' This spectacular event occurs annually on the third Saturday in October amidst the scenic Autumn backdrop of the New River Gorge and its iconic Bridge. Not only is it West Virginia's largest one-day festival, but it's the largest extreme sports event in the world. It pays tribute to the world's third-longest single-arch bridge—a marvel of engineering that spans 3,030 feet across the New River Gorge, holding the title of being the longest of its type across the Western Hemisphere.
Deep in the heart of Fayette County in southern West Virginia lies an eerie reminder of a bygone era – Thurmond, West Virginia. Today, a ghost town with a population of 5 (in 2020), it was one of the greatest and most infamous railroad towns along the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad at the turn of the century.
Thurmond stands frozen in time, nestled on the banks of the majestic New River. Its dilapidated buildings and crumbling infrastructure offer visitors a haunting glimpse into its prosperous past from when steam trains traveled the rails and coal was king. At its zenith, Thurmond boasted a bustling population and was home to many businesses that catered to locals and passing travelers.
Today, however, only memories wander through the abandoned streets as a reminder of the transient nature of prosperity. Amidst the natural wonders of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, Thurmond's ghostly presence serves as a poignant testament to the unstoppable march of progress and time's ability to reclaim even the most vibrant communities.
I am the 8th photographer in 4 generations of my family. Back in 2006, my husband accepted a job traveling, and I jumped at the chance to go with him.
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