Every Fall, the Army Corps of Engineers releases flood-level water into the Gauley on a pre-determined schedule. Here in West Virginia, we call it Gauley Season, and it allows us to know exactly what days will be the best for big-water action.
And nobody runs the Lower Gauley better than we do.
With over 70 rapids up to Class V and breathtaking scenery the entire way, the Fall Lower Gauley is the best choice for an adventurous first-timer or an experienced New River enthusiast who wants to go one step further.
Our Lower Gauley rafting trip is 17 miles long and includes thrilling rapids like Class V "Heaven's Gate" and "Pure Screaming Hell."
Between extremes, you'll enjoy a hot lunch on the river at Canyon Doors, the most beautiful spot on this stunning river.
About the Gauley River
The Gauley is characterized by multiple heavy rapids, requiring tight, technical maneuvering. In total, it is 24-26 miles long, but is often split into two main sections—the Upper and Lower Gauley.
About the Lower Gauley River
The Lower Gauley is a long run—17 miles—and though there are a few pools for relaxing and swimming, most of that length is spent in whitewater, with much of it class III-V. Though it doesn't pack quite the punch as the Upper Gauley in terms of technique and steely nerves needed, this river section should not be underestimated. It is the most advanced river section that we feel is appropriate for first-time rafters.
Gauley River Rapids Classification
Class III-V whitewater (on a scale of I to VI), with a few pools for relaxing and swimming.
Lower Gauley River Rapids Classification
Class III through V
On class III-IV and harder trips, a guide sits in every raft and provides instruction at each major rapid and throughout the trip. On some trips like the Upper New and Summer Gauley, guests may be in their own inflatable kayaks (duckies). If that is the case, guides will be present to instruct, advise and assist.
Our standard rafts are 16 feet long, comfortably seating 8-9 guests and a guide.
Time on Water
This is a full day trip. Depending on the water level, you'll spend between 5-7 hours on the water plus shuttle time to and from the river.
We provide transportation from our resort to the river and back again, all rafting equipment (helmet, life jacket, paddle and boat) and the best hot riverside lunch in the world of rafting. Be assured you will not go hungry!
What to Bring
Bring any medication you need throughout the day, plus sunscreen, sunglasses and a change of clothes to keep at the resort upon your return. Guides carry small waterproof bags to stow necessary medications. The average water temperature on the Gauley River in the fall is 50 degrees. You may want to bring a synthetic layer. Wetsuits and splash jackets are available for rent.
Are you bringing a large crew (15+) from your youth group, business or similar organization? Request customized information here.
Requirements & Restrictions
The minimum age for this trip is 14 years old. Our PFDs (personal floatation devices) have a maximum chest capacity of 58 inches. We recommend that participants have experience with rafting before trying this trip. Participants should be able to swim.
Your guides and leaders will discuss specific safety requirements on site.