The Entire Gauley River, but with the Easier Lower Gauley First
The best way for beginners to raft the entire Gauley!
For 6 weekends in a row every year in September and October (a.k.a., Gauley Season), the Army Corps of Engineers lets predictable flows out from Summersville Dam, and whitewater aficionados travel from all over the world the sample whitewater that is consistently ranked in the top 10 on Earth.
Okay, so you've never rafted before… or maybe you're a bit rusty… or maybe you just like saving the most intense for last… well then, this is the trip to pick. Start out day 1 on the less intense, but still huge and thrilling, Lower Gauley, where you'll hone your skills in the big-water class Vs of the lower gorge like Upper and Lower Mash, Heaven's Gates and Pure Screaming Hell. Then head back to our breathtaking campus on the rim of the New River Gorge for a little R and R in the lodging of your choice and meals at any of our 3 fantastic restaurants.
Then, on day 2, test your mettle on the Beast of the East—the Upper Gauley. They don't call it that for nothing! This river section is known the world over for bringing the complete package. The Upper G is technical with must-make turns and moves, it's channels are often tight and crowded with rock and it's steep, too, dropping 335 feet in its 10 mile length. To make it even more exciting, during Gauley Season, there's guaranteed big water, which means it'll also be fast, pushy and roaring loud. This is the time of year when the Big 5—five seriously pounding class-V rapids—come out to play. They are Insignificant (yeah right), Pillow Rock (the best 10 seconds in all whitewater), the 1/4-mile long Lost Paddle, the waterfall-ish Iron Ring and Sweets Falls, which is a little like being a gladiator in the Roman Coliseum.
Prices are per person and do not include tax and fees. Prices vary by day of the week.
TRIP LENGTH2 Days
As with all of our fall Gauley Trips, we have what is hands-down the best lunch on the river. Our Canyon Doors lunch base is in the single most beautiful spot on this stunning river. The food is hot and delicious with options for vegetarians and carnivores alike—and all you have to do is show up to eat it.
What type of river is the Gauley?
The Lower Gauley is a long run—17 miles—and though there are a few pools for relaxing and swimming, most of that length is spent in whitewater, with much of it class III-V. Though it doesn't pack quite the punch as the Upper Gauley in terms of technique and steely nerves needed, this river section should not be underestimated. It is the most advanced river section that we routinely recommend for first-time rafters. Then, the Upper Gauley is the cream of the whitewater crop and rafting aficionados travel from all over this time of year to enjoy her. The Upper G packs quite a punch in terms of technique and steely nerves needed, and this river section must not be underestimated. You can expect a world-class guide and and adventure you will never forget.
What does Rivermen provide?
We provide transportation to and from the river, all rafting equipment (helmet, life jacket, paddle & boat), professional guides in each raft and the best hot lunch alongside the river.
How much time do we spend on the water?
The total trip is 2 very full days with an overnight rest at our breathtaking campus. We spend most of the typical river day on the water, but a total of 1-1.5 hours is spent commuting to and from the river.
How big are the boats?
Our standard rafts are 15 feet long and can comfortably seat 8-9 guests and a guide. Upgrades to high-adventure, team-extreme rafts are available for an additional fee.
What else might we need?
You should bring any medication you need throughout the day, plus sunscreen, sun glasses and if the weather is a little nippy, a dry layer to put on after the trip. (Your guide will be able to put it into a dry bag.) If necessary, we also rent wetsuits and paddle jackets. Via our partnership with Whitewater Photography, we also sell photos of you in the rapids. Our video boaters also accompany most trips and we offer DVDs of your experience for an extra charge. To ensure you get a video, you can pre-order one with your reservation.