West Virginia is known for her mountains, her kind people, and (of course) her pepperoni rolls. But West Virginia is also known for whitewater rafting. With trips for the littlest of littles to those seeking the thrill of the lifetime, there’s a good reason that West Virginia is known for whitewater rafting.
There are very few places in the world where you can find so much incredible whitewater (and with guaranteed flows) than the New River Gorge Region in West Virginia. Since the 1970s, whitewater has been run commercially on the New River, with the Gauley River being added to the mix later.
The Lower New River
The New River Gorge is comprised of two sections, the Upper New River and the Lower New River. The Lower New River is the section that most people think of when they think “West Virginia Whitewater.” This 7 mile (when rafted from Cunard to Fayette Station) stretch of whitewater is known as a “drop pool river”, meaning between each rapid, there are pools where rafters can swim and enjoy calm water. The rapids on this section are Class III-V. You’ll travel through the heart of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, with iconic views of the Endless Wall and the New River Gorge Bridge. This trip is what put whitewater on the map for our state and is one of the catalysts in West Virginia being known for Whitewater Rafting.
The Upper New River
The Upper New River is the whitewater rafting trip for families and timid first time rafters. Kids as young as six can take on the Upper New River, where they’ll be treated to splashy waves, jump rock, and plenty of river games to keep them smiling. This trip has rapids ranging from Class II-III, with just enough thrills to keep even the most adventurous kids talking about their awesome day on the river for weeks to come.
The Upper Gauley River
The Upper Gauley River is synonymous with adventure. This trip is the whitewater of legends. Huge whitewater featuring 5 Class V rapids descend through the Gauley canyon, with big drops, boulders, and waves creating a trip to remember is this remote river section. The Gauley River is a dam release river. During the summer months, the river is dammed to create another recreational paradise, Summersville Lake. But, for 6 weekends in September and October, the gates are opened on the dam creating what we call “Gauley Season”. West Virginia is known for this trip, where people travel from across the country to raft the Upper Gauley River.
The Lower Gauley River
While West Virginia is known for whitewater rafting, it’s also known for scenic vistas. The Lower Gauley River is all the best things about whitewater rafting in West Virginia. This section is calmer than the Upper Gauley, but with no shortage of thrills in the form of roller coaster waves. The thing that really makes the Lower Gauley a trip to remember is the incredible views, arguably some of the best in a state with plenty of Instagramable locations. Here, the only way to experience these views is by traveling by raft or kayak, making it a true wilderness voyage.
At Adventures on the Gorge, we have the guides and know-how to take you rafting on the rivers that make West Virginia whitewater rafting so special. Experience an adventure to remember in Almost Heaven.
Minimum Age: 12 >
Minimum Age: 6 >
The Upper New River is a great place for a family raft trip, beginners wanting a relaxed river experience, or for scouts and youth groups to get their feet wet in the majestic and breathtakingly scenic New River Gorge.
Minimum Age: 15 >
Minimum Age: 12 >