Take a tubing trip on the world’s second oldest river

Did you know the 320-mile New River is the oldest on the planet next to the Nile? While the waterway is famed for its eponymous West Virginia gorge whitewater, Galax’s New River Outdoor Adventures makes it easy to kick back, relax, and enjoy some of the New’s most scenic, paddle-friendly stretches in Virginia.  

Photo courtesy of New River Outdoor Adventures

The full-service outfitter is located about six miles northwest of town in the tiny, historic community of Fries on a waterfront lot bordering the 57-mile-long New River Trail State Park rail-to-trail. It offers a quartet of exquisite canoeing, kayaking, and tubing floats that range from two to about eight hours in length. All the equipment you need is included. The two-miler from Fries Park to the shop takes a couple of hours and is great for tubers and beginners. Those looking for something more adventurous—and to take in the full scope of this gorgeous span of river—will delight in a 14.5-mile paddle from the Barwood Boat Ramp in Independence to Galax’s Old Town Boat Ramp. The trip meanders through sparsely populated farmland and forests, past wild islands, huge outcroppings of rock, and pebbly beaches. It features tons of wildlife viewing opportunities and fun but family-friendly chutes and riffles. It takes between six to eight hours to complete. NewRiverOutdoorAdventures.com


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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