The Epitome of Whitewater Rafting
The Upper Gauley River is the epitome of whitewater excitement. The section drops over 335 feet in less than 13 miles, resulting in high-volume and technical whitewater from start to finish. Consistently rated one of the top five rivers to raft in the world, and one of the top three in the United States, this is the Beast of the East.
We recommend this adventure to experienced rafters who are ready to participate in an intense paddling challenge. This trip runs all five of the Big 5 Rapids, plus another few miles after lunch, including the huge Class IV+ Wood’s Ferry.
Gauley Season, taking place in September and October, draws whitewater enthusiasts from across the globe. Over the course of six weeks, water levels ideal for rafting are released from Summersville Lake to provide thrilling whitewater opportunities on a set release schedule.
Minimum Age: 15
Upper Gauley River FAQs
About the Gauley River
The Gauley is characterized by multiple heavy rapids, requiring tight, technical maneuvering. It is 24 miles long, but is often split into two main sections—the Upper and Lower Gauley.
About the Upper Gauley River
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.
Gauley River Rapid Classifications
On class III-IV and harder trips, a guide sits in every raft and provides instruction at each major rapid and throughout the trip.
Our standard rafts are 16 feet long, comfortably seating 8 guests and a guide. Upgrades to 14' or 12' boats are available.
This is a full day trip. Depending on the water level, you’ll spend between 4-6 hours on the water and be served a hot grilled riverside lunch.
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. The average water temperature on the Gauley River is 50 degrees. You may want to bring a synthetic layer, depending on the time of the year and the weather. Wetsuits and splash jackets are available for rent, as long as booked in advance. What to Wear
Customized quotations are available upon request for groups with over 15 members.
Requirements & Restrictions
The minimum age for this trip is 15 years old. Our PFDs (personal floatation devices) have a maximum chest capacity of 58 inches. We strongly recommend that all participants have had prior rafting experience. Participants should also be able to swim.
Your guides and leaders will discuss specific safety requirements on site.