Virginia's Rivers

1. Introduction
2. Chesapeake Bay
3. Systems
Physiography Topics
• Introduction to Physiography
• Coastal Plain
• Piedmont
• Mesozoic Basins
• Blue Ridge
• Valley and Ridge
• Appalachian Plateaus
• Virginia's Rivers

Virginia's Rivers (Part 7)

New River

• The New River is extensively discussed elsewhere in this web site here and here.

• It flows generally northward toward the Ohio and then the Mississippi Rivers that eventually reach the Gulf of Mexico.

• The New River's headwaters are in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina. It flows northward, and meanders its way back and forth across the Virginia border in Grayson County, Virginia.

• It is the main river that drains the Blue Ridge Upland - the rolling area northwest of the Blue Ridge Escarpment.

Terrain map of the Grayson and Carroll County area near the North Carolina Border. The New River meanders across this rugged landscape serving as the trunk river for all the streams that drain the Blue Ridge Upland. The Blue Ridge Escarpment is seen at the southeast corner of the map. (Map data by Google)

• The New River flows generally northward, completely across the Valley and Ridge, cutting across the northeast-southwest trend of the ridges.

The New River at McCoy, north of Radford, Virginia. The river cuts across the sandstone ridges of the Valley and Ridge in this area. The line of sandstone outcrops in the river are visible in the photo, creating small rapids. This scenic place is a favorite recreational spot for Radford University and Virginia Tech students. (Photograph by Parvinder Sethi)

• The New River is considered to be an old river, despite its name. A clue to its age lies in the fact that it meanders while it cuts across the ridges. This indicates a long history: it first established meanders on a flat landscape as most meandering rivers do, then the land uplifted, then the river eroded downward into the bedrock.

• The New River reaches the Appalachian Plateaus province near the border with West Virginia. It continues northward and westward through West Virginia where it joins the Gauley River. The combined river is called the Kanawha River. It passes through Charleston, WV before it reaches the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, WV.