Gauley River

Written by Serena Berger
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The Gauley River snakes and rages through canyons in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia before combining with the New River to form the Manawha. If you want to go whitewater rafting with your family or a group of friends, or try a duckie by yourself, no matter your skill level, the Gauley River has something for you. While in general inexperienced rafters tend to explore the New River and leave the Gauley to the seasoned rafters, there are some areas of the Gauley you could consider if you are an adventurous beginner.

Rafting Different Sections of the Gauley River

The Middle Gauley is the most easy-going section of the river, with some section of Class I rapids during some parts of the year. Moderate Class II-IV rapids can also be found here, but for the most part, a multi-level group can be comfortable on this stretch of river. If you're going out by yourself for the first time, this is also a great place to get comfortable in the rapids.

The Lower Gauley has a distinctive character which it derives from the exquisite scenery as well as the water itself. The water levels are medium or high here, and there are long, continuous rapids. These provide a dramatic but manageable roller coaster for a very adventurous beginner, and a chance for experienced rafters to have some fun and see someplace beautiful while still getting a significant workout.

It is, however, the Upper Gauley River which gives the Gauley its reputation for being world-class whitewater. Especially in the fall when the dams release, this difficult (Class V+) whitewater draws enthusiasts from all over the world. Not to be attempted by anyone who doesn't have significant rafting experience, this is rafting for the passionate sportsman who seeks the adrenaline rush of huge drops and rapids several feet high.


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