Click the links below to view information about activities for this park.
|Education and Events|
|Picnicking and Community Building|
Canoeing: Easy paddling and spectacular scenery make the New River a natural canoe trail for inexperienced paddlers. Its shallow, gentle waters and mild rapids are perfect for beginners, families and groups, but even expert paddlers return again and again to experience the river's beauty and tranquility.
Along the course, small tributary streams merge with the river and minor rapids stir the water's surface, adding excitement as canoes are maneuvered downstream. The best months for higher water levels are May and June. August and September are low-flow periods. Click the Links button on the Park Menu for the river's current flow data.
Canoeists may leave their vehicles and launch canoes at the Wagoner Road Access Area, located at river mile 26, at the US 221 Access Area, located at river mile 15, or at the Kings Creek Access at river mile 7. All vehicles must register for overnight parking. Canoes may also be launched from several bridges and roadways that cross the river. Parts of the river are suitable for tubing at times. Contact the park office for outfitter tube and canoe rentals.
The Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Website offers canoe and outfitter information, as well as information about the local area. Click the Links button on the Park Menu to access the Website. Visitors desiring to paddle the Neuse River may contact staff for launch location and take-out instructions.
Below is a listing of estimated river mileage and paddling times between canoe access sites. The time estimates are based on moderate paddling experience.
Camping: New River State Park offers three access areas that total more than 750 acres. Each area provides a canoe-in primitive campground with tables and grills.
Wagoner Road Access Area. The walk-in/canoe-in campground offers bathroom facilities with hot-water showers. At Wagoner Access, campers may park and carry their supplies 250 yards to the campsite, or campers may canoe downstream to a take-out ramp at the campground. A group campsite that can accomodate up to 35 campers is also available with reservations.
US 221 Access offers two camping areas. Both have bathroom facilities with hot-water showers. The walk-in/ canoe-in campground has 14 campsites and a group campsite. Campers may park and carry supplies or canoe-in to these campsites. At the drive-in campground, 20 campsites can accommodate both tents and RVs. Ten campsites are electric only and 10 campsites have full hookups. Two sites are handicapped-accessible with full hookups. The drive-in campground also offers a dump station and potable water.
Alleghany County Access offers eight primitive campsites and a group campsite that are accessible only by canoe. The campground has a pit toilet and a pump for drinking water. Campers must sign in at registration boxes or with a park ranger. A fee is charged for all camping areas. All trash must be carried out.
Riverbend Campsites offer the true primitive experience. There are four canoe-in only campsites available by reservation only. Small campfires are permitted in the rock fire-rings and all trash must be carried out. There are no toilet facilities or drinking water at the campsites.
Education and Events: Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about New River State Park. Click the Events link on the Park Menu to the left to search our database of park events.
The visitor center offers hands-on environmental education opportunities. Visitors can explore the rich natural and cultural resources of the region. The center also has a teaching auditorium and a laboratory/classroom.
Additionally, educational materials about New River State Park have been developed for grades 6-8 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The New River program focuses on basic river ecology and the aspects of the New River that make it unique. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators. To learn more about environmental education or to search our database for upcoming workshops, click the Education tab, above.
To arrange a special exploration of New River State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.
Exhibit Hall: There's more to New River State Park than outdoor recreation! Stop by the visitor center to learn more about the Natural and cultural history of the park. Learn about the river's Riparian Zone; 'A natural hedge that gives the river an edge!' From hands-on exhibits about plants and animals, to a video about canoeing the New River. There's much to see, learn and do.
The visitor center offers a varity of interactive exhibits and displays of maps, animal tracks, forests around New River valley, local bird species, early culture, watersheds and river basins, protecting water quality and much more.
Enjoy watching programs on the big screen in the auditorium. Currently featuring 'Exploring North Carolina,' with a special focus on the New River, entitiled 'New' Beginnings.
Fishing: Cast your line from the river banks and reel in tonight's dinner. The south and north forks of the river provide some of the best smallmouth and redeye bass fishing in the region. The south fork downstream from the US 221 bridge is stocked with muskellunge. Trout fishing is excellent in the smaller, faster tributaries, most of which are designated general trout waters and are stocked regularly with rainbow and brown trout. Rockfish also migrate up the Neuse in the spring behind the shad. Anglers need a state fishing license and must obey the regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
We have 6 hiking trails totaling approximately 6 miles in length. Please note that some trails may close during periods of high water.Wagoner Road Access Trails:
Fern Nature Trail: This moderate one mile self guided trail, has a small section running along the river. After it leaves the river it goes along the side of the ridge above the river, through a second growth forest of mixed hardwoods and pines. This trail connects to the Running Cedar Trail.
Running Cedar Trail: This moderate trail gets its name from the running cedar that blankets the forest floor. It follows along the boundary of Wagoner Access and joins the Fern Nature Trail. This trail will add an additional mile to your hike.
US Hwy 221 Access:
Hickory Trail: This moderate one mile trail begins on the east side of the park and traverses along side of the ridge above the river. The view is mostly of the contours of the land. This trail crosses the road and follows through a forest of Montane Oak, Hickory, Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron. It connects to the Campground Spur Trail.
Campground Spur Trail: This moderate quarter-mile trail branches off the Hickory Trail and winds through the forest behind the Visitor Center and connects to the Drive-to Campground.
Dogwood Trail: This easy one-eighth-mile, turnaround trail starts near the picnic shelter. It is handicap accessible and goes to a wooden platform overlooking the river.
Alleghany Access: (canoe-in only access)
Farm House Loop Trail: This moderate one mile trail goes through open fields, Rhododendron thickets and Oak/Hickory woodlands for a beautiful view of the cliffs across the river.
Riverview Trail: This moderate 1.3 mile trail goes along the top of the ridge for a beautiful view of the river and scenic vistas.
Road to Nowhere Trail: This easy half-mile turnaround trail goes through an agricultural field that has been seeded with pines and sycamores.
Picnicking and Community Building: Each of the park's access areas includes a picnic area. Wagoner Road Access Area has a 10-table covered shelter with grills and a fireplace. The shelter is available for group gatherings and may be reserved. A grove of apple trees provides a canopy for 13 tables and two grills. Restrooms and drinking water are located nearby at the park office and the campground shower-house.
The US 221 Access Area, located at river mile 15, has a small picnic area downstream from the campground. Bathrooms are located between the campground and the picnic area. An 8-table shelter with a grill is also available by reservation.
The community building located at the 221 Access features a large meeting room, kitchen facilities and restrooms. Contact the park office for reservations and a fee schedule. A reservation form is available from the Forms & Permits link on the Park Menu to the left. It must be completed in order to reserve the community building.
Three picnic tables are provided in an open meadow at the Alleghany County Access Area, located at river mile 1 near the Virginia border. This area can be reached only by canoe. A pit toilet and a pump for drinking water are also provided. The Kings Creek Access Area offers two tables and two grills with restrooms nearby.
Special Events: To hold a special event in the park, such as a wedding, a canoe race or an event that does not fall within normal park activities, event organizers must receive a Special Activity Permit. The Special Activity Permit application is available from the Park Menu to the left, under Forms & Permits.