Southern West Virginia RiversAugust 30, 2011
Southern WV Rivers
When you think of rivers in southern West Virginia, the New and Gauley probably come to mind. These rivers have been favorite vacation destinations for the past 25 years. Every year over 100,000 people visit the Gorge area and raft the New and the Gauley, and because of this, many other tourism activities have become part of our landscape.
But although the New and the Gauley get much of the attention, many other rivers here offer recreation opportunities. From hiking and biking trails to scenic floats and fishing, don’t miss these other West Virginia rivers.
Don’t Miss These Rivers
The Greenbrier and Bluestone Rivers are both tributaries of the New River and offer many similar activities as the New. The Greenbrier is probably best known for the 78 mile rail trail that follows it from Caldwell to Cass.
The Bluestone River dumps into Bluestone Lake above the Bluestone Dam in Hinton. Both rivers have great fishing, camping and hunting, as well as other recreational activities.
The Meadow, Cherry, Cranberry and Williams rivers are all tributaries of the Gauley. The last three have some of the best trout fishing in the state and are all in the Monongahela National Forest. That means that there is plenty of camping and hiking available.
The Meadow is the only one of this bunch that flows into the Gauley below Summersville Dam. It has arguably the most difficult whitewater in the state over its last five miles before joining the Gauley.
The Birch River is a tributary of the Elk, which is a tributary of the Kanawha. Both the Birch and Elk can be floated in various types of watercraft and offer exceptional fishing.
The Kanawha is the river that is formed when the New and Gauley Rivers come together. Within its first mile, the Kanawha has a magnificent set of falls and then is flat for the rest of its journey to the Ohio. It’s a great choice for boating and fishing.
The Coal River is also a tributary of the Kanawha River and offers scenic paddling opportunities for beginners.
The Tug, Guyandotte and Mud Rivers all flow into the Ohio River. Although they are rivers that empty mostly on the western side of WV, they all have headwaters in the very southern part of the state. These rivers flow through some of West Virginia’s steepest and roughest country. The Mud River is known to be one of the best waters for muskellunge in the state.
So don’t think that the New and the Gauley Rivers are the only rivers to visit in Southern WV. Hey, if you do decide to visit these other streams, you may find you have them pretty much all to yourself.
Have you been on or around any of Southern WV’s other rivers?