Adventure Blog

Are You Ready for Gauley Season?

Gauley River Canyon Adventures on the Gorge

Want to feel as if you are paddling through a watercolor painting? If so, you should plan to head to the New River Gorge this fall.

The Fall Season gives us some of the best whitewater rafting in the world on the New and Upper and Lower Gauley Rivers. From the cool mountain air, the onset of Fall colors, to the exhilaration and freedom of the rapids.

You can raft the New River Gorge in any season, but there is nothing quite like rafting through the canyon or gorge when the normally lush green foliage transforms to an array of bright reds, oranges, and golds. While the whitewater is as exciting as ever, you also have time to drift through calm pools and enjoy your surroundings.

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It’s friends huddling together with anticipation at the base of Summersville Dam. It’s early-morning fog rolling off the Gauley River canyon. It’s your heart racing with adrenaline at the top of a class V rapid.

It’s Gauley Season.

And among the rafting communities here in West Virginia, it’s the most anticipated six weeks of the year. Unfortunately, with all our excitement, we often assume that everyone else is as familiar with Gauley Season as we are. Too often, the truth is, potential boaters are missing out because they don’t even know what “Gauley Season” means.

2020 Gauley Season Release Dates

  • September 11, 12, 13, 14
  • September 18, 19, 20, 21
  • September 25, 26, 27, 28
  • October 2, 3, 4, 5
  • October 9, 10, 11, 12
  • October 17, 18
New River Gorgeeous Rafting

So, while the Gauley River can be enjoyed year-round—the canyon offers stunning scenery, fishing, low-water inflatable kayaking throughout the spring and summer—these 23 days are scheduled release days. This means the Army Corp of Engineers releases an agreed-upon amount of water from the base of Summersville Dam, creating ideal water levels for rafting the 26+ miles of whitewater and more than 100 Class III, IV and V rapids below.
These predictable releases draw in whitewater enthusiasts from all 50 states and multiple countries. Are you ready to join them for the best water levels and top-notch rafting on the Gauley River?

The Gauley River is a two-part whitewater adventure comprised of the Upper and Lower sections of the Gauley River. However, with many of the most famous rapids—Pillow Rock, Iron Ring, Sweets Falls, and more—crammed into the Upper Gauley, too many rafters overlook the splendor of the Lower Gauley.

The Upper Gauley’s often overshadowed second-half, the Lower Gauley offers stacked Class IV and V rapids plus even greater scenery than the upper section, making it a must on any whitewater lovers list. Plus, it’s more approachable demeanor makes it a great way to start your Gauley River adventures.

For those who are new to West Virginia’s whitewater, we recommend the following progression:

  • The Upper New River – A scenic and fun section ideal family and friends, the Upper New welcomes paddlers as young as 6. It is home to Class II-III rapids and calm pools perfect for games and relaxation.
  • The Lower New River – A favorite among veteran rafters and first-time adrenaline junkies alike, the Lower New has over 25 Class III through V rapids. As a bonus, this trip finishes up just below the world-famous New River Gorge Bridge
  • The Lower Gauley – One of the most scenic trips you will ever take, the Lower Gauley makes an amazing stand-alone adventure or a great transition from the Lower New River to the Upper Gauley.
  • The Upper Gauley – The most technically challenging and adrenaline-inducing section of river we offer, the Upper Gauley is packed with Class IV and V rapids, making it the ideal challenge for those who have honed their paddling skills on the New River and Lower Gauley.
Bridgefall 2 Copy Ready For Gauley

Introducing our Layaway Plan

Make your reservation today by speaking to one of our Adventure Specialists, pay 10% down and make interest free payments for the remaining balance of your reservation.

Quotes from Guests and Staff

“The Fall Gauley is the perfect combination of challenging and intimidating, while at the same time feeling relaxed and well-cared for. It’s just enough adrenaline, mixed with care-free happiness.” ~ Annie R.

“For me, Gauley Season isn’t just about the whitewater (although that is also hard to beat!), it’s about the chance to get out and paddle with all the raft guides and guests that I haven’t seen in a year. It’s just a giant annual reunion where you are guaranteed awesome rapids, great friends, and nights out under the stars telling stories about the past year and talking about all the adventures ahead.” ~ Juniper R.

“The Gauley will always make you feel more alive and inspired than any experience you can imagine!” ~ Ray Ray

“Pillow!” ~ Kevin M.

If you want to experience everything we have to offer, please call one of our adventure specialists.

Gauley River Canyon Adventures on the Gorge
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