Gauley River Whitewater Rafting

Written by Serena Berger
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Gauley River whitewater rafting is world-famous. Many magazines and individuals have even rated this West Virginia river among their top 10 sites in the world for whitewater rafting. Specifically, the Upper Gauley is the stretch of the river that boasts the Class V+ rapids that draw the most adventurous and elite rafters.

The Most Extreme Gauley River Whitewater Rafting

Upper Gauley River whitewater rafting is at its most extreme in the spring and summer, with another peak in the fall at the time of the dam releases. What makes the rafting so challenging and difficult? A combination of factors, including the high average drop of 26 feet per mile and some particularly large and abrupt drops, contribute to the high level of difficulty.

You also have to take into consideration the boulders and rock outcroppings which influence the flow of the rapids. Not only do they change the direction of the flow of water and contribute to particularly powerful rapids or whirlpools, but they are also an added safety concern. You should not even consider Upper Gauley River whitewater rafting unless you were extremely strong, fit, and experienced at whitewater rafting.

If you're not an inveterate rafter, however, you can still enjoy the Lower Gauley for slightly less overwhelming rafting. If you're heading out by yourself and enjoy the solitude of being on the river alone, you can try a duckie or kayak on the Middle Gauley, a reasonably gentle stretch of river. The Lower Gauley provides a respectable challenge for groups with moderate skill levels and experience.


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