The Gauley River
Tour the Gauley Rapids!
The Gauley River, a 26-mile stretch of whitewater located in Southern West Virginia, contains some of the most challenging commercially run whitewater in the world.
Thousands of people make the annual paddling trek to southern West Virginia each fall when the official dam release dates are scheduled. Flows begin in early September and usually last through mid-October with four glorious days each week to get your share of spills and thrills in any of over 100 rapids! This year's season runs from Sept. 10 through Oct. 18.
Area rafting outfitters welcome the opportunity to guide you on a tour down this stretch of water while experienced whitewater enthusiasts may choose to make a solo effort in a kayak. Be advised of the challenges and risks involved before setting out on your adventure. At least half of these rapids are major, with several in the Class V+ range. This is definitely not a trip for the faint of heart!
Those with the heart and nerve, however, are rewarded with a world-class whitewater adventure in one of the nation's most spectacular settings, featuring an array of autumn hues that highlight the gorge in all directions.
For many, the Gauley presents the ultimate challenge in whitewater kayaking and rafting, as it is rated seventh among the world's whitewater rivers and second in the U.S. If you need any more reasons to make this the year you run the Gauley:
- For years, one of the highlights of any Gauley trip has been the put-in at the base of Summersville Dam, where three giant tubes pump 2,800 cubic feet of water per second into the river. It's an awesome and unforgettable site as you guide your raft directly into the swirling torrent just below the dam!
- A hydroelectric project under development may make this year the last that rafts will put in from this point. Don't worry - there are still miles of fantastic rapids that will be available to rafters in the future!
- But to make sure you experience the awe-inspiring Summersville Dam put-in, make this year's Gauley run a must on your schedule!