Spring & Summer Gauley River Rafting

This dynamic, unpredictable, and challenging trip is only for experienced paddlers who are flexible and ready to take whatever the river brings that day.

While our traditional Gauley River rafting trips are only available in the fall during recreational releases from Summersville Dam, the Gauley River is here all year long, and this trip provides the opportunity to see its many different states.

Throughout the spring and summer, variable water levels make for an unpredictable whitewater adventure. Depending on water levels this trip could take place on any section of the Gauley in a variety of different crafts.

In the spring, the Gauley’s water levels can be much higher than during the fall releases. If this is the case, we will typically raft the middle and lower sections of the river. This might mean rafting at near standard fall release levels, or you might be able to run the Lower Gauley at levels three to five times higher than normal fall flows.

In the summer, the water changes the appearance of the Gauley River drastically. There’s much less water, which makes the river narrower and the drops steeper. We’ll still ride the same rapids but in smaller four or six-person rafts or inflatable one-person duckies.

Water levels are not predetermined and will be evaluated the morning of the trip before setting out. At that time, our experienced trip leaders will choose the most fun combination of boat sizes and river section to give you a unique Gauley experience.


Regardless of what section and water level, these trips are advanced and technical. We strongly recommend prior paddling experience in either a ducky or a kayak, strong swimming skills, and a go-getter personality.

If you chose to opt out of this adventure once the section of river and boat type are determined, you will be able to go on a Lower New River rafting trip instead. In this case, there is a possibility of a boat upgrade at no additional charge. 

Minimum Age: 15

Have children under the age of 12?  Check out Kids Camp.

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.

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.

Boat size on this trip is based on the water level. You could be in anything from a single-person duckie (inflatable kayak), a guided 12-foot R4 (holds up to 4 paddlers), a guided 14-foot R6 boat (holds up to 6 paddlers), or a guided full-sized 16 foot boat (holds up to 8 paddlers).  When this is a duckie trip, guides will be in kayaks or duckies to direct and assist.

This is a full day trip. Because this trip varies so much, it’s hard to say how much time you’ll be on the water.  Depending on the water level, you’ll spend between 3-6 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, life jacket, paddle and boat) and a deli riverside lunch. 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 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.

The Summer Gauley minimum age is 15 years old. Our PFDs (personal floatation devices) have a maximum chest capacity of 58 inches. We highly recommend an ability to swim and previous paddling experience on this trip.

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