© Bruce McNitt/Panoramic Images (Virginia)

New River Valley

Despite its name, the New River is among the world's oldest waterways in geologic terms. The uncertain origins of its name probably stem from European settlers’ surprise at finding an Eastern river that flows toward the continent’s interior rather than the Atlantic.

The headwaters of the New River rise from the Blue Ridge Mountains near Boone, N.C. Its meandering route through western Virginia trends generally northward through long parallel ridges and past picturesque farms, towns, and forests to its confluence with the smaller Gauley River in southern West Virginia. About 7.5% of Virginia—some 3,070 square miles—lies within the New River watershed, with 250,000 Virginians living in and among its 37 tributary watersheds.

Learn what some of these residents are doing to preserve the unique geologic and biological riches of the most ancient New River.

Stories from the New River Valley

  • The Old Saving the New

    by Mary Bishop
    The state of Virginia wanted to build a prison next to the old man's centuries-old farm. But Mastin Fayne "Buster" Osborne didn't relish the idea of leaving his nephew's growing family, his closest kin, with an eternity of headaches.

    Read More

  • Conserving History for the Future at Bullard Farm

    by Judy Schwab
    Thanks to Mary Ingles Barton Bullard and her daughters, 500 acres of historic family farm land -- a remnant of a land grant from King George II -- will remain intact.

    Read More

Quick Facts

Virginia DCR - Natural Heritage Program
600 East Main Street; 24th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

Contact Information

Phone: (804) 786-7951
Fax: (804) 371-2674


Founded in: 1986

Go to the Map

Use the interactive map to zoom smoothly from a national view to state and local perspectives anywhere across the country.

Copyright © 2023 NatureServe. All Rights Reserved.