Friday, June 30, 2017

New River State Park, Laurel Springs, NC

Date of Stay:  Sunday June 18 – Friday June 30, 2017 (12 nights)

Rate:  $21/night during week; $25/night weekends and holidays (more for FHU)

Website:  New River State Park (NC) US Hwy 221 Access
   358 New River State Park Road (use gps 36.467680, 81.340350)
   Laurel Springs,NC 28644

Description:  Located in the northwest corner of NC near the quaint town of West Jefferson, this State Park is a great place to float down the New River.  The area has many Christmas tree farms with fir trees forming patches on the hillsides.  The campground is only 20 sites; half are FHU(50A) while the other half are electric(50A) only.  We stayed in site 11 which is electric only.  We filled our fresh tank as we came in and took showers in the clean bath house and did just fine.  The roads are paved while the campsites are level gravel.  Strange thing about the site design though is that about half of them have the patio on the driver side of the rv.  The sewer and utility poles are not all that conveniently set up either.  The cg is about a mile up the hill from the New River.  Nice Visitor Center shows the importance of a good riparian area beside the river.

Trash and Recycle:  Dumpster located at the dump station and recycle bins for aluminum, glass, and plastic located at the bath house.

Activities:  I enjoyed a hike in the woods down to the river and back several times.  We enjoyed relaxing at the rear of our site and a few trips into West Jefferson (Honey Hole and Ashe County Cheese).  It is a vibrant small town with several blocks of quaint shops in the downtown area.  Saturday there is a nice Farmer’s Market open there too.  We checked out the VC where we learned that the New River is believed to be the second oldest river on Earth (oldest is the Nile).  It was named the New River because Peter Jefferson (Thomas Jefferson’s father) surveyed the area in the 1740’s and the river didn’t have a name so he just wrote New River beside the meandering waterway.  The VC offers a canoe float on Sundays for a small fee so we signed up for it.  It was about 4.5 miles long and took about two hours.  Only thing is, we are used to kayaks which are a lot more stable than canoes.  We started out fine but came upon a rapids that had a branch hanging over it.  The branch turned us sideways and the current took care of the rest!  We capsized into the cold mountain water!  Our knees and rear ends scraped the rocks on the bottom of the river and we had a hard time standing up in the current.  Once we got our wits together, the Ranger helped us get to shallower water and dumped the water out of the canoe so that we could get back in and continue on our float.  That was pretty much the end of my small camera.  I’m glad that our key fob still worked after getting wet!  But it was a memorable trip indeed!

On site 11  On site 11
On site 11

New River SP Visitor Center  Riparian display
The VC emphasizes the importance of a good riparian natural area

New River canoe launch  Launching from the handicap launch
Canoe launch in the park

Hickory Trail  Nicely marked walk in the woods  River Run Trail
Hickory Trail is a nice walk in the woods…
River Run Trail  River Run Trail  Switchback in steep part of trail
…and so is River Run Trail

Group launch  Canoe the New
Ready for launch!                                      Canoe the New!
Beautiful day!  Canoe the New
So peaceful in the last picture while I was dry!

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