New River Gorge National Park and Preserve vs. Crater Lake National Park

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and Crater Lake National Park, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Overview

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is a beautiful and diverse destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in West Virginia, this expansive park spans more than 1,700 square miles and features rugged mountain scenery, winding rivers, picturesque waterfalls, steep canyons, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. With so much to see and do, New River Gorge is the perfect choice for anyone looking to get outside and explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re interested in hiking or biking along scenic trails or rafting or kayaking down rushing rivers, New River Gorge has something to offer everyone. So why not plan your next trip today? Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, New River Gorge is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Get outside and discover what New River Gorge has to offer!

Crater Lake National Park Overview

Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity—fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and one of the most pristine on Earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Hiking Trails

New River Gorge National Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country. The park, which is located in southern West Virginia, features more than 50 miles of trails that wind through a variety of terrains. While all of the trails offer stunning views of the New River Gorge, each one has its own unique challenges.

For those looking for an easy hike, the Fayetteville Trail is a great option. This two-mile trail winds through a forest and offers gentle elevation changes. The trail can be accessed from the Fayetteville Visitors Center and is perfect for families or those who are new to hiking.

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the New River Gorge Trail is the longest and most difficult trail in the park. This 31-mile trail follows the New River from one end of the gorge to the other. Along the way, hikers will need to navigate steep cliffs, narrow ledges, and deep ravines. The New River Gorge Trail is only recommended for experienced hikers who are properly prepared for a multi-day adventure.

Best Hikes At New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at AllTrails.com

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail 598.932 7 out and back 4.5
Medano Lake Trail 697.992 3 out and back 4
Montville Nature Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp Trail 80.772 3 out and back 3.5
Little Medano Creek Trail to Medano Lake 1079.9064 3 out and back 4
Wellington Ditch Trail 47.8536 1 out and back 4
Dunes Overlook Trail 143.8656 3 out and back 4
Pinion Flats Campground Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
High Dune Trail 191.7192 5 out and back 5
High and Star Dune Loop 403.86 3 loop 4.5

Hiking Overview at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the country. If you’re looking for an easy hike, the Rim Village Trail is a great option. This paved trail winds its way around Crater Lake, offering stunning views of the lake and mountaintops. For a more challenging hike, try the hike to Wizard Island. This strenuous 8-mile round-trip hike takes you to the top of Wizard Island, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Crater Lake. No matter which trail you choose, Crater Lake National Park is sure to provide an unforgettable hiking experience.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Crater Lake National Park

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Godfrey Glen Trail 19.812 1 loop 4
Crater Peak Trail 360.8832 3 out and back 4.5
Annie Creek Canyon Trail 92.964 3 loop 4
Castle Crest Wildflower Garden Trail 36.8808 1 loop 4
Dutton Creek Trail 317.9064 3 out and back 4
Lightning Spring Trail 395.9352 3 out and back 4
Pacific Crest Trail and Alternate Loop 1211.8848 5 loop 4.5
Lady of the Woods Trail 33.8328 1 loop 3
Stuart Falls Trail 438.912 3 out and back 4
Union Peak Trail 512.9784 3 out and back 4.5

Wildlife at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

At New River Gorge National Park, you can expect to see a wide range of beautiful wildlife. Whether you’re gazing at towering trees or trekking through muddy marshes, you are sure to encounter an array of animals and plants along the way. Some of the most common species include deer, foxes, squirrels, turkeys, wild turkeys, salamanders, snakes, lizards, hawks, eagles, crows and blue jays. Additionally, New River Gorge is home to many different types of flora including ferns, mosses, conifers and deciduous trees. Whether you’re exploring on your own or partaking in one of the park’s many guided tours and hikes, New River Gorge has something to offer for all nature-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike!

Wildlife at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is home to an amazing variety of wildlife. You can find everything from eagles and ospreys to elk and deer. The park also contains a number of sensitive plant species, including the western white pine and the Crater Lake lily. In addition, Crater Lake is an important stopover point for migrating birds. Every year, hundreds of thousands of birds use the lake as a resting place during their journey north. As a result, Crater Lake is teeming with life, and there is always something new to see.

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Weather Considerations

New River Gorge National Park is a great place to visit any time of year, but the best time to go depends on what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re interested in hiking, the spring and fall are ideal because the temperatures are moderate and there’s less chance of rain. However, if you’re looking to whitewater raft, the summer is the best time to visit since that’s when the water level is at its highest. On the other hand, winter can be a magical time at New River Gorge National Park, especially if you’re hoping to see some snow. So whether you’re looking for adventure or peace and quiet, be sure to check the New River Gorge National Park weather forecast before planning your trip.

Crater Lake National Park Weather Considerations

Crater Lake National Park is a beautiful place to visit all year round. However, the weather can vary greatly depending on the time of year. The best time to visit Crater Lake National Park is from June to September. During these months, the weather is warm and sunny, making it perfect for hiking, swimming, and enjoying the views. However, Crater Lake National Park can also be crowded during this time of year. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, late September to early October is a great time to visit Crater Lake National Park. The weather is still pleasant, but the crowds have typically dispersed by this point. The worst time to visit Crater Lake National Park is from November to May. During these months, the weather is cold and often snowy, making it difficult to enjoy the park’s many activities. If you do decide to visit Crater Lake National Park during these months, be sure to dress warmly and bring plenty of supplies.