5 Things to Expect on a Gauley River Whitewater Trip

The Gauley River is infamous for exciting whitewater on one of the most beautiful and technical rivers on the planet.
For 6 consecutive weekends in the fall, water is released by the hydro-electric dam, creating perfect conditions for amazing whitewater boating.
Raft the Gauley RiverHere’s what to expect on a Gauley River trip:

1. Stay Warm!

The water being released from the Summersville Dam comes from the bottom of Summersville Lake, and is usually in the 50s. While this can be refreshing on sunny days, it can be quite brisk. A wetsuit will help keep you warm. Don’t wear cotton underneath, because it will stay colder longer.

2. Excitement

After you’ve been on the river, you’ll know why everyone is so happy at the put-in. Expect excitement like you’ve never experienced it before, especially on the Upper Gauley— a 13-mile stretch of river that drops nearly 400 feet, creating intense rapids and huge waves. 

3. You’ll have the New River to Yourself

Because the Gauley is a special dam release, most everyone will be over there, so the best way to beat the crowds is to head to the New River. With several sections ranging in difficulty from Class 1 to Class IV-V, it’s a fun family ride. (It’s also a great warmup for the Gauley.)

4. It’s A Wilderness Experience

The Gauley River has a peaceful and isolated feeling. It winds through a rugged, almost untouched wilderness. As you head into the Gauley River Canyon, the gentle slope of the gorge becomes steep, and in some areas is sheer, stunning sandstone cliffs. 

5. You’ll want to go Again

You’ll want to go again. Maybe not right after you get done, and probably not the next day when your arms are tired from paddling… but when you go home and see the pictures, you’ll want to call and reserve your spot next year. And maybe try an overnight trip!
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