Wild and Wonderful
Gauley River National Recreation Area protects 25 miles of the Gauley River and six miles of the Meadow River that pass through scenic gorges and valleys containing a wide variety of natural and cultural features. Every September as water is released from Summersville Dam, whitewater enthusiasts from all over the world flock to the Gauley River to experience what is considered by many people to be one of the most thrilling whitewater rafting opportunities in the country. Dropping more than 668 feet through 28 miles of rugged terrain, the Gauley River's complex stretch of whitewater features more than 100 rapids with a steep gradient, technical runs, an incredible volume of water and huge waves. Its vigorous rapids, scenic quality and inaccessibility combine to make Gauley River one of the premier whitewater runs in the world.
Did You Know?
High-energy rivers are an ecological driving force for some plant communities. Gauley River is an excellent example of a high energy system which supports rare plant species and their communities. Rare plants here include Virginia Spiraea, Appalachian Blue Violet, and Balsam Squaw-weed.