Halls of Karma

Less than four miles upstream from the bridge over the New River Gorge, Halls of Karma is a magnificent rock terrace—almost an auditorium. There are literally hundreds of square feet to take in the sun and picnic. In addition to the terrace, a finger of rock extends toward the center of the water and creates a polite eddy 35 to 45 feet long in what is otherwise a huge, muscular white water river.

There’s a set of stairs that step down into the water, but straight forward entry doesn’t necessarily mean simple exit. It might be easy to find yourself too far out of the eddy, get swept downstream and turned into fish food. The park service discourages swimming. If you’re not a bozo or yahoo, you can, in my opinion, cautiously enjoy this place at flow levels below 4,500 cfs which is when the accompanying picture was taken.

Best advice: Use Halls of Karma mainly for above-the-water recreation. Apart from potentially swift current, the New River can be yucky. It drains such a large area that funk abounds. So pack a picnic basket and bring some cocoa butter for your honey to rub on your while watching the paddlers go by. Better make sure the coconuts come from a tree with high SPF. The rock faces west and gets plenty of sun, even 1,000 feet down in the canyon.

Copyright Running Water Publications 2002