Fall Upper Gauley Express

Whitewater Rafting on West Virginia's Class V Upper Gauley

Intimidating and intense!

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.

They don't call the Upper Gauley the Beast of the East 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.

We don't recommend the Upper Gauley for your first rafting trip. Oh, we'll take you, if you're hale and game, but be forewarned, this section of river is not for the timid. Luckily, we have some the best guides on the planet to bring out your A-game and help you run this river like it was meant to be run.

Prices are per person and do not include tax and fees. Prices vary by day of the week.

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Full Day






$129 - $189

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 Upper Gauley?
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. The Fall Upper Gauley is the most high-adventure trip that most rafters will ever see. 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 1 day from the time you leave base camp until you return. We spend most of that time 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.