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.
This trip includes:
Check out our Gauley River Overnight Checklist for our recommended packing list for this trip.
Minimum Age: 15
The Gauley is characterized by multiple heavy rapids, requiring tight, technical maneuvering. It is 24-26 miles long, but is often split into two main sections—the Upper and Lower Gauley.
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.
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.
Class III-V whitewater (on a scale of I to VI), with a few pools for relaxing and swimming.
Class III through V
Class IV through V
On class III-IV and harder trips, a guide sits in every raft and provides instruction at each major rapid and throughout the trip. On some trips like the Upper New and Summer Gauley, guests may be in their own inflatable kayaks (duckies). If that is the case, guides will be present to instruct, advise and assist.
Our standard rafts are 16 feet long, comfortably seating 8-9 guests and a guide. Upgrades to high-adventure smaller rafts are available for experienced rafters for an additional fee. Six-person raft upgrades for 2-Day trips are $200/boat. Four-person rafts for 2-Day trips are $300/boat.
This is two full days in the river. Depending on the water level, you’ll 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, life jacket, paddle and boat) and a hot 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 in the fall is 50 degrees. You may want to bring a synthetic layer. Wetsuits and splash jackets are available for rent.
Customized quotations are available upon request for groups with over 15 members.
The minimum age for this trip is 15 years old. Our PFDs (personal floatation devices) have a maximum chest capacity of 58 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.