For a test of endurance and skill, both mental and physical, raft the Gauley River Marathon. The full experience of rafting through more than 60 intense rapids does not end when you reach the Upper Gauley take-out – you’ll continue down river into the huge waves and holes of the Lower Gauley. Brace yourself for Class V rapids with such promising names as “Upper and Lower Mash,” “Heaven’ Help Us,” and “Pure Screaming Hell.”
The Gauley River Marathon is not recommended for first time rafters.
Gauley Season, taking place in September and October, draws whitewater enthusiasts from across the globe. Over the course of six weeks, water levels ideal for rafting are released from Summersville Lake to provide thrilling whitewater opportunities on a set release schedule.
Minimum Age: 16
Gauley River FAQs
About the Gauley River
The Gauley is characterized by multiple heavy rapids, requiring tight, technical maneuvering. It is 24 miles long, but is often split into two main sections—the Upper and Lower Gauley.
About the Upper Gauley River
The Upper Gauley is the cream of the whitewater crop. It is intimidating, and for good reason. This section of the river packs quite a punch, and may be the most high-adventure trip that most rafters will ever attempt. You can expect an adventure you will never forget with one of our experienced guides.
About the Lower Gauley River
At 14 miles long, the Lower Gauley offers ample stretches of calm, relaxing waters, and Class III-V rapids. Though it's not as technically demanding as the Upper Gauley, this is the most advanced river section for first-time rafters.
Gauley River Rapid Classifications
On class III-IV and harder trips, a guide sits in every raft and provides instruction at each major rapid and throughout the trip.
Our standard rafts are 16 feet long, comfortably seating 8 guests and a guide. Upgrades to high-adventure smaller rafts are available for experienced rafters for an additional fee.
This is a full-day trip. Depending on the water level, you will spend between 5-7 hours on the water plus shuttle time to and from the river.
We provide transportation from our resort to the river and back again, all rafting equipment (helmet, PDF, paddle and boat) and the best hot riverside lunch in the world of rafting. Be assured you will not go hungry!
What to Bring
Bring any medication you need throughout the day, plus sunscreen, sunglasses and a change of clothes to keep at the resort upon your return. Guides carry small waterproof bags to stow necessary medications. The average water temperature on the Gauley River is 50 degrees. You may want to bring a synthetic layer, depending on the time of the year and the weather. Wetsuits and splash jackets are available for rent, as long as booked in advance. What to Wear
Customized quotations are available upon request for groups with over 15 members.
Requirements & Restrictions
The minimum age for this trip is 16 years old. Our PFDs (personal flotation devices) have a maximum chest capacity of 56 inches. We recommend that participants have experience with rafting before trying this trip. Participants should be able to swim.
Your guides and leaders will discuss specific safety requirements on site.