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The New River, a tributary of the Kanawha River and one of the American Heritage Rivers, is approximately 320 mi (515 km) long, flowing through the states of North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. It is formed by the confluence of the south and north forks in Ashe County, North Carolina. It flows south to north approximately 160 miles through the counties of Pulaski, Grayson, Carroll, Montgomery and Giles before crossing into West Virginia. According to local folklore, it is considered to be second in age only to the Nile River and thus the oldest in North America.
Throughout its journey in Virginia, the New River flows through spectacular, untamed mountain scenery complete with craggy rock cliffs and magnificent gorges. Thus, the New River provides plenty of excitement for whitewater enthusiasts, with several major Class II - III rapids. There is also an abundance of flatwater to please motorboaters and canoeists.
765 acre New River Trail State Park has been designated an official National Recreation Trail by the U. S. Department of the Interior. The park parallels 39 miles of the New River and offers a variety of recreational opportunities and facilities. There are no designated swimming areas, but tubing is popular here.