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Arguably the oldest river in North America and the second oldest in the world (The Nile is believed to be the oldest). Geologists estimate the New’s age at approximately 300 million years. The New flows on a meandering path north through the Appalachian Mountains as it crosses the Appalachian Plateau, Ridge and Valley, and Blue Ridge physiographic regions.

The New River begins as two streams on the western side of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Watauga County, NC, at an elevation of 4,850 feet. The North and South Forks converge in Ashe County as the New River proper; it then flows northward into Virginia and loops back to tag North Carolina before continuing north into Virginia and West Virginia, where it descends to 680 feet. The New River is 337 miles long; its 8,970 miles of tributaries drain a 6,920 square mile basin.

Click here for a map of boat launches on the New River

Paddle Sections