“No-Regrets – 2022” – Rafting Adventure Road Trip from Chicago to New River Gorge, West Virginia

What is No-Regrets
A mancation, a tradition, where bunch of close friends hunker down for a weekend of adventure, each year, every year. Key ingredients – Road-trip and stirring adventure – white-water rafting, zip-lining, rock-climbing and a new destination to satiate our wanderlust.

All No-Regrets Trips
Rafting/Adventure Road-Trip from Chicago to Ohiopyle, Ohio (No-Regrets 2018)
Adventure Road-Trip from Chicago to Rocky Mountains, Colorado (No-Regrets 2019)
Camping Getaway from Chicago to Iowa (No-Regrets 2020)
Rafting/Adventure road-trip from Chicago to Niagara, Wisconsin (No-Regrets 2021)
Rafting/Adventure road-trip from Chicago to New River Gorge, West Virginia (No-Regrets 2022)

Why New River Gorge, WV?

Adventure activities – white-water rafting, bridge walking, ATV rides, rock climbing, rappelling and a lot more.
A Nature Lover’s paradise –
Trails, scenic drives, panoramic vistas, ancient forests, rivers.
Endless Wall Trail is voted #1 trail in the nation in many polls; I have never seen such stunning views accessible via a gentle 2.3 mile out-and-back hike. As a bonus, you hike through the ancient Hemlock forest rich in local flora.
Long Point trail comes a close second, another gentle hike with dazzling views of the symbolic New River Gorge bridge.

How to Plan your visit?

•  For accommodation, we stayed at Ace Adventure Resort and had an amazing experience. It is strategically located such that all the other activities are near-by and since they offer most of the activities by themselves – rafting, rock climbing, ATV, paintball and so on, the logistics get super simplified. The 5 acre water park on a natural lake, is a must-try experience.

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Kids or adults will have a blast on this ‘Wipeout’ style water park 

• Run through this indispensable emergency checklist.

• Run though the tech essentials to turbo-charge your road trips.

•  Choose your activities and places to visit. We did the following in a 3 day trip: whitewater rafting at Lower New River, bridge walk at New River Gorge Bridge, ATV ride, and finally, hiking at Endless Wall and Kaymoor Mine trails.

Our Trip from Naperville

Dates
May 19-22, 2022

Road Trip
Naperville to Ace Adventure Resort, Fayetteville.
570 miles, we started at 4 PM and reached at 3 AM took after many leisurely breaks along the way.

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A classic setting sun silhouette, taken while enroute to WV

Stay
We reserved this cottage directly from Ace Adventure Resort and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Gets 10/10 on the solitude factor

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The cottage was pretty well-equipped

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The exclusive approach road to our cottage

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Had a surprise visitor as well

Day 1 – The Concho Overlook, Rafting and the Endless Wall Trail

Concho Rim Overlook

We headed over to Concho Rim Overlook for some photo-ops, as it was hardly a 5 minute drive from the resort.

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The Concho Rim brimming in the summer sun

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There is a train track meandering the rim

White-Water Rafting

And then the rafting adventure began. We did the lower new river circuit which has many Class IV and couple of Class V rapids.

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The iconic New River Gorge bridge, as seen while rafting

The Class V rapids are the highest level allowed in US commercially and we had a couple of those in this circuit.

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The last snap before 5 members of our group went overboard

Curious how does someone feel inside a Class V rapid, when you are out of the raft? Look no further –

It was not as bad as it looks :p

Displaying the true No-Regrets spirit, everyone who fell, went back in there and this time, we all leaned in for the other Class V rapid and escaped narrowly.

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Hiking at the Endless Wall

After the adrenaline pumping rafting gig, we went back to the resort for a quick change and then headed towards the iconic Endless Wall hike.

The goal was to reach the Diamond Point Overlook on the trail, which was about a mile away. The path goes via an ancient forest rich in local flora.

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The trail was full of blooming rhododendrons 

The following snaps taken from the Diamond Overlook, cannot do justice to how astounding it was.

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We turned back from the Diamond Point Overlook but you could go a little further as well.

Day 2 – The Bridge Walk, ATV Tour and Kaymoor Miner’s Trail

The Bridge Walk

We heard about the rare adventure pursuit of walking 25′ beneath the iconic New River Gorge bridge and made an impulse booking.

It was a great decision in hindsight.

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The approach to the catwalk area

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The catwalk was 24” wide

After some anxious moments, we soaked in the view beneath us.

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You could see the kayakers, rafters wading through the New River

The ATV Tour

We did the ATV tour from New River ATV and were pleased with the experience.

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The ATVs were sturdy and powerful

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The terrain was rough at times

And some people veered off course, unintentionally.

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Our motorcade had to stop due to a visitor on the road.

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Our guide tried to catch it but wasn’t successful.

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We had a couple of small pit stops on the way.

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Kaymoor Miner’s Trail

After the ATV ride, we headed over to our next hike – Kaymoor Miner’s Trail.

The trail was moderate to begin with.

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and then came the stairs, 821 of them, which makes this trail quite challenging!

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West Virginia has a rich mining history and Kaymoor Mine was heavily used back in the days.

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The mine is in shambles now but still alluring in its own way.

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Day 3 – The Drive Back Home

The Long Point Trail

We wanted to visit the Long Point Trail but had to abort the morning hike due to the sour weather.

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New River Gorge Bridge from the overlook on Long Point Trail, courtesy NPS

The Road Trip Back

And our long road trip commenced.

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The roadway till Dayton had many roller coasters like this

All Good Things..

Come to an end. A few hours and several pit stops later, we parted our ways, with a promise of bigger adventure looming in the air for No-Regrets 2023.

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So Long, West Virginia!


Please share your thoughts on this post or your own Mancation Road-trip ideas in the comments section.

One thought on ““No-Regrets – 2022” – Rafting Adventure Road Trip from Chicago to New River Gorge, West Virginia

  1. Lovely pictures Amit. Looks like it was a lot of fun and adventure rolled into a single trip. A great write up. May you continue feeding your wanderlust and discover endless destinations ! Best wishes

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