World's Greatest Places 2021
Kayakers under the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia.
Tony Cenicola—The New York Times/Redux
July 20, 2021 6:33 AM EDT

West Virginia’s New River Gorge, encompassing more than 70,000 acres, became the country’s newest national park and preserve in December. The main artery of the park is New River, which—despite its moniker—is one of the oldest rivers in the world, with 53 miles of free-flowing white water. Towering above the river is New River Gorge Bridge, which hosts its annual BASE jumping “Bridge Day” in October—making this the only national park where that daredevil activity is legal. Climbers come for the sandstone cliffs, some 1,200 ft. high, with 1,400 climbing routes, and there are also more than 21 miles for mountain biking. —Aniesia Williams

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