So What Is West Virginia’s 5th Season?

23 days of intense whitewater usher in the world’s most avid explorers each September and October, beginning this past weekend, 9/10. As the temperatures start to cool each year, Gauley Season is welcomed as the official 5th season of West Virginia. Check out our insider secrets to exploring the mystical and powerful Gauley River during this special season.

During this time, Summersville Lake is drained through scheduled dam releases, creating incredible Class V whitewater rafting. Known as the “Beast of the East”, rafting the Gauley River is truly an epic adventure. This year’s releases begin the weekend of September 10th and are scheduled to run until the weekend of October 16th.

This Gauley Season, find the perfect whitewater trip for you and discover Almost Heaven’s iconic rapids along the way.

ACE Adventure Resort

Located in Oak Hill, ACE Adventure Resort is home to guided adventures, family fun, scenic surroundings and so much more. Offering trips on both the Upper Gauley and the Lower Gauley this fall, expert rafters and beginners alike can experience the best of the Gauley Season. After your whitewater adventure, relax at the resort which features three restaurants, an adventure lake, cozy accommodations and more.

Adventures on the Gorge

A beautiful adventure resort known for adrenaline-packed experiences, Adventures on the Gorge is situated in the heart of the New River Gorge area. During Gauley Season, Adventures on the Gorge offers guided rafting trips on the Upper and Lower Gauley River. From overnight trips to rafting the Upper Gauley twice in one day, Adventures on the Gorge has a whitewater trip for everyone. Afterward, head to the resort for delicious dining, relaxation at the pool, outdoor adventuring or simply sit back and take in the gorgeous scenery that surrounds you.

River Expeditions

Home to authentic experiences and incredible accommodations, River Expeditions is a great place to experience Gauley Season whether you’re an expert or first-timer. River Expeditions features many different whitewater trips during Gauley Season that allow you to experience the river’s iconic rapids. River Expeditions is also home to cabin accommodations and a number of adventures including zipline and canopy tours, rock climbing, mountain biking and more.

West Virginia Adventures

This Gauley Season experience mild and wild guided whitewater trips with West Virginia Adventures. At West Virginia Adventurers, discover your inner sense of adventure with one of Almost Heaven’s most iconic experiences. Choose from day trips on the Lower Gauley to a Gauley River marathon rafting trip perfect for those looking to experience the Class IV/V rapids the Gauley River is known for. Along the way, take time to soak in the beauty of West Virginia.

New and Gauley River Adventures

With the iconic river in its name, New and Gauley River Adventures has been leading adventurers on the rivers of West Virginia for more than 30 years. Proudly family-owned, New and Gauley River Adventures offers trips ranging from family-fun focused to high adventure excursions. Join their expert guides on the Lower Gauley for an adventure atop the rapids or take things up a notch on the Upper Gauley, packed with exhilarating thrills.

Explore the Area

After a day full of exhilarating adventures on the water, you’ll also need to leave time to explore on land. The New River Gorge area is home to scenic beauty, incredible restaurants, outdoor adventures, craft breweries, charming downtown shops and more.

In fact, no trip to America’s newest national park is complete without visiting the iconic New River Gorge Bridge and the stunning views it provides. Snap a few photos of this West Virginia landmark and share all the fun with friends. Then, head to downtown Fayetteville and take a stroll around this charming town. Here, you’ll discover an array of unique restaurants and lovely shops. Another must-see is Hawks Nest State Park in Anstead, a park known for its scenic overlook and outdoor activities.

No matter what you choose to do, you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

It all starts this Gauley Season. Are you in?

Plan your adventure on the roaring waters of the Gauley by exploring more rafting outfitters and guides.

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This post was last updated on March 18, 2022