On Friday, September 11, 2020, a Sleeping Dragon awakens. The Gauley River comes to life like no other time of year. For six weekends only this year, you, your family and friends can experience some of the best whitewater IN THE WORLD.
One of the best whitewater destinations in the world is right here in the West Virginia mountains. The Gauley River is a 105-mile-long river that merges with the New River to form the Kanawha River, a tributary of the Ohio River. The river features numerous recreational whitewater areas, including those in Gauley River National Recreation Area downstream of the Summersville Dam.
“The Beast of the East.” “The Big 5.” And, “the best 10 seconds in American whitewater.” These are all phrases you may have heard used to describe the Gauley River or individual rapids on it. In fact, if you’ve ever seen a list of the top-5 whitewater rafting rivers in the world, the Gauley is on it. But, what they’re really talking about is the Upper Gauley—the ten miles of river immediately below Summersville Dam.
Maybe you didn’t know it, but downstream of the Upper Gauley, the Lower Gauley offers 14 more miles of rapid-rich river just sitting there, lonely, wondering where you are and why you aren’t running it.