West Virginia Rafting

Written by Serena Berger
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West Virginia rafting boasts some of the best rafting in the world. The most famous rivers for whitewater in West Virginia are the Gauley and the New Rivers. Extreme sports enthusiasts as well as families and nature lovers can all find rafting suited to their levels of fitness and experience.

Extreme West Virginia Rafting

The Upper Gauley River in summer provides whitewater which is known throughout the world by avid rafting fans and makes many Top 10 lists of rafting locations. While it is possible to find only moderately intense rapids in this area, it is the Class V+ rapids for which the Upper Gauley is known. With an average drop of 26 feet per mile, some huge drops, and challenging rock outcroppings, this is not whitewater for a casual day on the river, but rather for an extreme adventure.

If you want less intensity, but still a fair amount of excitement, you can consider West Virginia rafting on the Lower Gauley or the Lower New River. The Lower Gauley is not the most reliable of rivers, but when the rafting is on, especially around the time of the fall dam release, you can enjoy moderate whitewater with long, continuous rapids, and the refreshing water from Summersville Dam. The Lower New River is more reliable all year round, though the whitewater does change with the seasons from the largest volume in the spring, to water levels that are perfect for first-time whitewater rafters in the summer.

Also good for first-time rafters is the West Virginia rafting on the Upper New River. This easy-going stretch of river is safe and fun for children and inexperienced rafters, as well as people kayaking on their own. If you want to go rafting by yourself, you might also want to try a duckie on the Middle Gauley, which is a safe stretch of river suited to a beginning solo sportsman.


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