The most popular family runs: The New River’s calm section is easy for even the young’uns to navigate, and its lower stretch becomes a fun family run. The Cheat River snakes through a boulder-strewn canyon, across more than 30 rapids. The playful Shenandoah & Potomac Rivers in the Eastern panhandle wind past historic Harper’s Ferry.

For thrillseekers: The Gauley is the “Beast of the East,” with some of the best paddling in the world. (And some of the most remote scenery.) But to make sure you get a trip, you have to go during one of the select days in the fall when water is released from the dam.

As the newest rafting river, the Tygart River is far less crowded, but its steep drops include the most powerful drop in the Monongahela River basin that you can boat on.

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