West Virginia: Oak Hill, ACE Adventure Resort - Rafting, Kayaking, Biking, Climbing, Hiking, Rappelling, and Ziplining – Family Adventures Made Easy.
Imagine one family vacation spot tucked away amid a forest but within footsteps of a slew of day adventures - a place where all you have to do is arrive, check in and your family adventure vacation fun begins - in a word ACE.
ACE Adventure Resort in West Virginia is a one-stop place for family vacation adventures. Surrounded by the 70,000-acre New River Gorge National River and located at the end of an ever narrowing road, the ACE complex is a secret family vacation spot frequented by families with a love of adventure. Not far from the mountain town of Oak Hill and more importantly the New River Gorge Bridge - the longest single arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere - it is an ideal family adventure vacation base.
The area is naturally green and appealingly wild. Rocky canyon walls drop to wild rivers with plenty of rapids. Hiking and biking trails weave throughout forested terrain and over flowered meadows. Day adventures include rafting, kayaking, climbing, and almost everyone has a rappelling story to be told.
ACE is at the heart of adventures offering a rich menu of ways to have fun. They make it easy to make plans to have fun and it can all be done online before arrival. We have suggested ten family adventures - the problem may be deciding because the choices are terrific. Create your own all inclusive family vacation. Surf the river.
Almost everyone who stays at ACE takes at least one whitewater trip or maybe two. The reputations of the New and the Gauley Rivers make it too tempting to pass up and there are options for all skill levels so no one is left behind. Paddle a raft, go by kayak or try a FunYak - the whitewater is waiting.
Because just having an adventure is only half of the fun, ACE films each rafting trip and after each adventure videotographers assemble one-of-a-kind videos and CDs of the trip within about an hour. It makes explaining your family adventure easy and remembering so much more fun. Escape on two wheels.
The bike shop at ACE is often a designated meeting spot. Not far from the lakeshore, mountain bikes of all sizes stand waiting for adventure; knowledgeable staff standby to assist in bike selection and adventure preparation. Rent bikes and create your own adventure following marked trails within the complex or grab a map and connect with National Park Service Trails just down the road. During our stay we took a guided day ride to the historic town of Thurmond and biked along the New River Gorge. It was a blast. From narrow roadways to tree-framed trails, our route took on the feeling of a “Lord of the Rings” quest on two wheels with rock outcroppings and tree branches framing our pathways. Bonus points:
Other longer routes combine varied terrain and follow the rails-to-trails system on the Meadow as well as the Gauley River.
Climb and drop.
More than 1500 charted rock climbs may be found within the 70,000 acres of New River Gorge National River making the 15-mile escarpment one of the most popular climbing destinations in the country. Guides at ACE are not only fully qualified to lead climbers of all experience levels over a variety of climbs, but are also great at helping first-time climbers make the most out of their experience. Bonus points:
ACE has the area's only onsite complete climbing school. The Alpine Tower and Ropes Course offers participants plenty of ways to have fun and master skills in the process. Saddle up and ride.
Located at the top of the hill, horses await the next trail ride. Trails lead throughout the property along open fields and under the thick forest canopy to Concho overlook. The pace is slow and relaxing. Guides lead riders to see the breathtaking view of the ancient New River Gorge - said to be one of the oldest rivers in the world, even older than the Nile. Bonus points:
They offer sunset rides daily and horse-drawn wagon rides any season of the year. All trails lead home.
Trails and walking routes onsite vary from gentle to rugged and challenging and all are easily accessible. If you want interpretation along the way hiking with a guide is always an option. The obvious benefit, wild kingdom explained by a trained naturalist/historian. Bonus points:
Sunset hikes to the edge of New River Gorge are offered. Grip, point and roll.
Whitewater kayaking is both a skill and an art. Whether you already paddle or are a first-time kayaker, spending time with an ACA-certified instructor will make navigating the next series of river rapids easier. Clinics begin at the lake in a calming atmosphere – no hurry, no stress just progress. The teaching is based on a progressive mastery of skills with instruction specific to the needs of each participant. Our kayak skills clinic was intense but the practice run was a blast. Bonus points:
Also available whitewater FunYak instruction – the idea is in the name. Obviously there is more than on way to go down a river and ACE offers skills clinics for high-performance, self-bailing, Aire inflatable kayaks. Participants learn basic techniques, eddy hopping, ferry angles, and even river wave surfing. When making mud pies is not enough.
Sometimes being crazy is the only solution and for those times Ace has created a down and dirty Mud Obstacle Race. The challenging muddy off-road obstacle course pits teams against time and one another. Fitness and skill provide little advantage as each team is timed through swamp crossing, rope climb, tug-of-war, all with plenty of mud. Duck or get painted.
Paintball takes on a new meaning when played on the private wooded fields at ACE. Experience the thrill of the game; let the paint balls fly at the opposing team. The idea, capture their flag and keep it using teamwork and strategies. Out maneuver the other team and enjoy gloating over the victory.
All terrain is not the same.
The remote northern edge of the ACE complex has been reserved for ATV adventures. ACE’s guided 2.5-hour adventure features machines ideal for navigating along forest pathways, across fields and meadows, over rocky creek beds and do hillsides. It’s a scramble.
Enjoy a squirrel’s eye view.
Ziplining, once an activity found only in tropical rain forest regions, is now available at ACE. The zip tour begins at the cliff’s edge. It’s the same thrill of flying 50 feet above the forest floor but through a hardwood forest instead. The series of ziplines linked by elevated platforms and create spectacular views and a few thrills along the way. The amazing zipline routes keep expanding so no two rides will ever be the same from season to season. The longest zip now measures 680 feet and runs along the lip of the mountain with providing thrilling New River and Gorge views.
While we were at ACE I spoke other guests who were eager to share a favorite adventure experience. All agreed it is rewarding to share adventures with your kids. Because everything is right there on the grounds, we were able to arrange rafting on two rivers; have our own kayak clinic; go mountain biking; try rock climbing; enjoy horseback riding and chill out. For us it remains an awesome family vacation spot. They take care of everything from start to finish - reservations, guides, food service, lodging, transportation. Make it happen.
Check them out on FACEBOOK. ACE Adventure Resort
Oak Hill WV, 25901. Toll-free 1-888-ACE-RAFT (1-888-223-7238), (304) 469-2651 or www.aceraft.com