Thousands of whitewater enthusiasts come to the Gauley every fall season, to paddle what is considered by many to be the one of the best whitewater rivers in the country. Gauley Season begins the first weekend after Labor Day, and continues for six weekends (five 4-day weekends, and one 2-day weekend). Dropping more than 668 feet through 25 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.
Whitewater rafting attracts over 60,000 adventurers to the Gauley River each year. The upper Gauley offers tremendous class III to V+ drops in steep, turbulent chutes such as Pillow Rock, Iron Ring and Sweet's Falls, and rocky routes that demand constant maneuvering such as Lost Paddle and Shipwreck. This section of the river requires experience and minimum age of 16. The lower Gauley is a 12-mile stretch, rated class III to V that feels like a watery roller coaster (minimum age 12 - 14).
Last updated: February 23, 2021