Wild WhitewaterIf you’re seeking thrill and excitement, you’ve come to the right place. The Mountain State is rich with rapids and adventure around every bend.
For Class IV and V rapids, look no further than the New and Gauley rivers. During the summer months, the lower New River is the perfect place to beat the heat and get your fair share of adrenaline. Several local outfitters offer packages perfect for an action-packed day of river running. But don’t forget that the end of summer in West Virginia doesn’t mark the end of the state’s season for outdoor adventure.
Beginning the weekend after Labor Day, Summersville Lake is partially drained into the Gauley River – creating world-class rapids that attract rafters from around the world. This annual occurrence is referred to as “Gauley Season,” and is one of the most sought-after events on the East Coast. Area outfitters, such as ACE Adventure Resort, Adventures on the Gorge, and River Expeditions all offer packages for Gauley Season. These packages are only offered September through October, so don’t miss your chance to raft down what many consider “The Beast of the East.”
To experience the famous “Gauley Season,” head to the Gauley River in the fall months where fiery foliage lines the river to create an excursion with fall color views you have to see to believe.
Rest assured, you can still take on the Gauley in the spring and summer seasons as well, if the river is running at acceptable flows. During this time, the Summersville Dam is drained, which creates 22 perfect and predictable levels of whitewater just waiting to be experienced.
In fact, the Upper Gauley has 5 rapids that claim the whitewater rating of “Class V,” which is at the height of rapids deemed safe to guide down. Those rapids include the Insignificant Rapid, Pillow Rock Rapid, Lost Paddle Rapid, Iron Ring and Sweet’s Falls. Each rapid is a bit different yet equally exhilarating.
If the Upper Gauley doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, give the Lower Gauley a try. This stretch of the river has its own incredible rapids like the Mash Bros. rapids, which features 3 gigantic waves one after another or the Pure Screaming Hell rapids with its monster-sized hole that might make you lose your voice in the process. Either way, each rapid will be an adventure with heavenly mountain views as your backdrop.
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