This is the Beast of the East, the most renowned whitewater in West Virginia, always in the top three in the nation, consistently in the top five rivers in the world.
The Upper Gauley River drops over 335 feet in fewer than 13 miles. The essence of big-water rafting excitement, it's huge volume, technical, gut-wrenching whitewater from start to finish. This intense whitewater experience is not recommended for the timid or inexperienced.
This trip runs all five of the Big 5, plus another few miles after lunch, including the huge Class IV+ Wood's Ferry.
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 Upper Gauley River
The Upper Gauley is the cream of the whitewater crop. It is intimidating, and for good reason. This section of the river packs quite a punch, and may be the most high-adventure trip that most rafters will ever attempt. You can expect a world-class guide and an adventure you will never forget.
Gauley River Rapids Classification
Class III-V whitewater (on a scale of I to VI), with a few pools for relaxing and swimming.
Upper Gauley River Rapids Classification
Class IV 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 3-5 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 15 years old. Our PFDs (personal floatation devices) have a maximum chest capacity of 58 inches. We strongly recommend that all participants have had prior rafting experience. Participants should also be able to swim.
Your guides and leaders will discuss specific safety requirements on site.