It was named an American Heritage River in 1998. It is one of 14 streams to be so designated.
Nearby is Brooks Falls offers river ledges and a watery hole. It sits next to the road as you head from Hinton to Sandstone Falls.
From that trailhead, you can access the Big Branch Trail, a streuous, 2-mile loop known for its small waterfalls, wildflowers and old farmsteads.
The National Park Service opened the Sandstone Visitor Center in 2003 in the hamlet of Sandstone.
The facility focuses on the New River watershed, its natural and cultural history and its activities over the years including timbering and coal mining.
It offers educational exhibits on the park, its resources and its heritage.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except a few holidays.
For information, call 304-466-0417.
Nearby Hinton, once a major rail town on the New River, has its own historic district that is on the National Register of Historic Places. A walking tour of the downtown area is available.
For park information, contact New River Gorge National River, P.O. Box 246, Glen Jean, WV 25846, 304-465-0508, www.nps.gov/neri.
For tourist information, contact the Southern West Virginia Convention & Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 1799, Beckley, WV 25802, 800-VISIT WV, www.visitwv.com.
Also the Summers County Chamber of Commerce, 238 Main St., Hinton, WV 25951, 304-466-5332, www.summerscountychamberofcommerce.com.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.