National Park designation drives tourists to one of the New River Gorge’s hidden face


Thousands of new tourists are pouring into the area with the new National park designation,...
Thousands of new tourists are pouring into the area with the new National park designation, bringing fresh attention to one of the New River Gorge’s hidden treasures -- the mysterious face carved into rock in the forest.(wvva)
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 3:44 PM EDT
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - Thousands of new tourists are pouring into the area with the new National park designation, bringing fresh attention to one of the New River Gorge’s hidden treasures -- the mysterious face carved into rock in the forest.

Walking through a forgotten trail near the Canyon River Visitor Center, you could easily miss it. David Sibrary first reported on ‘the face,’ in the West Virginia Explorer Magazine. Since the story first aired, interest in finding the hidden object has skyrocketed.

“There’s a mystery and magic about it. We know a Mr. Johnson carved it. He was a miner here many years ago and something inspired him to carve a face in it.”

Sibray said it was likely carved in the 1950s, around the time when Johnson was reported to be living nearby.

But even with the right directions, the rock can still be a challenge to find for even the most dedicated explorers.

One may find directions at Waterstone Outdoors in Fayetteville, but staff do not give out the route to just anybody. They want to make sure those who do traverse this trail do so with care.

“They know it’s around the New River Gorge bridge that makes it close. The bridge is just over here in the corner. But it’s far enough away that it’s still a challenge.

If the legend and lore is true, those who do make it may find fortune.

“I have heard that it brings you luck if you rub its nose. I’ve come down here on occasion just in case that’s true,” chuckled Sibray.

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