Gauley River Marathon

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 “Mashes,” “Heaven’s Gates,” 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


The Gauley is comprised of challenging, high-intensity rapids that come in quick succession throughout it’s 24 miles from the base of the Summersville Dam to where the Canyon opens up and the whitewater ceases.  The river is generally split into two main sections – the Upper and Lower Gauley – both of which are premiere whitewater stretches filled with demanding rapids and majestic scenery.

The Upper Gauley is a high-adrenaline, challenging, and unpredictable section of whitewater that has earned it’s place as one of the top 5 whitewater stretches in the world.  It is a committing Canyon with high-volume, technically challenging rapids that will push paddlers to their limits. 

At 17 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.

On river trips including Class III – V whitewater, each raft is guided by a professional whitewater rafting guide.  The guide will provide instruction at each major rapid and throughout the trip.   

Our standard rafts are 16 feet long, comfortably seating 8 guests and a guide.

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!

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 in the fall is 50 degrees. You may want to bring a synthetic layer. Wetsuits and splash jackets are available for rent. What to Wear

The minimum age for this trip is 16 years old. Our PFDs (personal flotation devices) have a maximum chest capacity of 58 inches. We strongly recommend that all participants have had prior rafting experience. Participants should also be able to swim.

Your guides and leaders will discuss specific safety requirements on site.