KayakingWest Virginia’s whitewater rivers have a little of everything: big waves, swirling hydraulics, even sweeping waterfalls. Hop on the New, Gauley, Cheat or Shenandoah for a thrill ride.
More rugged rivers like The Cheat River, Gauley and The Tygart are rare treats— only luck and some heavy spring rain will make these rivers runnable. But if you happen to catch them, the back-country scenery is breathtaking.
The Cheat River is one of the longest free-flowing paddling destinations in the east, and northern West Virginia’s premier aquatic playground.
The Cheat’s an outstanding natural and recreational resource as it flows unrestricted from its headwaters to its only dam at Cheat Lake near Morgantown. It’s conveniently broken up into 3 distinct sections of advancing difficulty and adventure. From the calm flatwater of the Upper Cheat, to the heart-pounding rapids of the Cheat Canyon, the river’s personality is as unique as the land it traverses.
World-class paddlers and dedicated conservationists alike have made the Cheat River watershed their home, so gather your crew, grab a paddle, and come find out why.
Though not as deep as the New River Gorge, the Gauley River canyon is a lush and verdant paradise, even without its rapids. River-sculpted sandstone block are strewn about the gorge.
At the Canyon Doors, twin pillars of rock tower more than 100 feet above the river, evoking mythical scenes out of movies like “Lord of the Rings.” At the Perfect Wave, shelves of rock extend out into the river’s current, giving perfect access to a wave that boaters and paddleboarders love to surf during the hottest months of summer.
The Tygart River is the newest rafting river and is relatively less crowded. Try your hand at the Tygart Valley Falls run, perfect for intermediates boaters and great to ride in the spring, summer and fall. This run flows through Valley Falls State Park and is mostly in the Class III and sometimes IV range with its powerful bumps and drops.
Experience the beauty of the Tygart River and the Mountaineer Country region of the state. While here you will pass by Valley Falls State Park and Audra State Park both full of unique and scenic beauty just waiting to be seen.
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