Traveling through West Virginia's only national park and the country's newest national park, McKendree Road is a cliff-hugging rough and rugged, narrow road that travels along the eastern banks of the New River Gorge, connecting the towns of Thurmond and Prince. This is a straight-through, 13-mile trek that begins along a hard-packed gravel road. Once crossing the Stonecliff Bridge, the road narrows to 1.5 vehicles wide and pounds across an untold number of potholes with spectacular views down to the river. Past the old town of Thayer, which offers awesome picnic and camping opportunities next to the river, the road becomes extremely narrow along the cliff edge with long stretches where passing is impossible, and pinstriping is guaranteed. Small creeks and shaded coves within the gorge produce picturesque waterfalls. The road conditions become rougher with small rocks, shallow mud holes, and eroded embankments until your final descent down Stretchers Neck to Highway 41.
This road is best suited for high clearance SUVs and pickup trucks and drivers with previous off-road experience.
Three primitive New River Gorge National Park campgrounds sit along McKendree Road, including Stone Cliff, Thayer, and Army Camp. Most of the sites within those campgrounds are walk-in only. Backcountry camping is allowed within the park as long as you stay more than 100 feet from state roads, parking lots, developed trails, trailheads, boat launch areas, etc.
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