National New River
Located in the heart of West Virginia in the newest National Park and Preserve, the ironically named New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world. The Lower New River, which flows south to north and passes through New River Gorge – the “Grand Canyon of the East” – is where West Virginia’s whitewater scene got started and it still one of the most classic and celebrated runs in the world!
The most popular two options to experience whitewater rafting in “The Gorge” are a full-day Lower New River trip, including multiple stops along the way, and a condensed, express version of this trip sending it straight down a section of the Lower New River without stopping – known as the Rapid Run.
Lower New River Full Day Whitewater Rafting
The Lower New River Whitewater Rafting trip is a favorite among everyone from first time rafters learning the basics to expert whitewater enthusiasts. This section of the river starts with little ripples. As the ancient sandstone cliffs narrow and the elevation drops, the water rumbles into bigger, crashing waves! This trip runs through the scenic New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and ends right below the New River Gorge Bridge.
The Lower New River is a stout Class II-IV with more than 25 rapids throughout the trip. Between the rapids and drops there are pools of calm water where you relax and take in the lush green surroundings and wildlife. Trip length and intensity vary based on water levels which change throughout the season. In the spring, the trip is usually 14 miles long, in the summer and fall it is typically 8 miles long.
Highlights of the full-day trip include:
Climbing and jumping off “Jump Rock”
If whitewater rafting alone doesn’t satisfy your adventure appetite, try making a splash at Jump Rock! Climb from your boat onto this bolder and leap into the New River to swim. (Weather dependent).
Riverside deli lunch
Half-way through your trip, you will stop along the river to rest and recharge with lunch. Your guide will provide a deli sandwich lunch bar with snacks galore right on the bank of the river.
Surfing at “Swimmer’s Rapid”
Catch a wave at Swimmer’s Rapid and try surfing in your raft! How long can you keep your boat surfing? (Water level dependent). The autumn foliage makes for a spectacular backdrop as you float by the New River Gorge, with base jumpers jumping off the New River Gorge Bridge on Bridge Day.
Lower New River Rapid Run
Short on time but want still to experience whitewater rafting on the Lower New River?
The Lower New River Rapid Run is designed for those who want to experience the excitement rafting the Lower New River but in a shorter time frame. This express trip runs 8 miles through 17 rapids without stopping along the way. It is an ideal option for those looking to go whitewater rafting and do another adventure on the same day!
The Rapid Run is offered in the morning and afternoon during non-peak times for full-day trips on the New River, creating a less crowded experience. This trip runs through the scenic New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and ends right below the New River Gorge Bridge.
Class II to IV.
Time on the Water
This is a quick trip down a small section of the Lower New River. Depending on water levels, you will spend 1.5-3 hours on the river.
A guide will sit in the back of every raft to control the navigational direction. Your guide will also provide technical instruction at each major rapid and throughout the trip and an occasional history lesson or old wise tale.
Our standard rafts are 16 feet long, comfortably seating 8 guests and a guide. Upgrades to 14′ and 12′ rafts are available.
We provide transportation from our resort to the river and back again, all rafting equipment (helmet, life jacket, paddle and boat) and a complimentary beverage.
What to Bring
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. Depending on the time of year and the weather, you may also want a synthetic layer. If necessary, wetsuits and splash jackets are available for rent.
Customized quotations are available upon request for groups with over 15 members.
Requirements & Restrictions
The minimum age for this trip is 12 years old. Our PFDs (personal floatation devices) have a maximum chest capacity of 56 inches. Participants should also be able to swim.
Your guides and leaders will discuss specific safety requirements on site and throughout the trip.