August 31, 2022

Limited Time Only: The Nation's Best Whitewater Rafting in the Country's Newest National Park

Limited Time Only: The Nation's Best Whitewater Rafting in the Country's Newest National Park


SUMMERSVILLE, West Virginia - Each fall, more than 40,000 people flock to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, America's newest national park, to experience a once-in-a-lifetime thrill known as Gauley Season. During this time, controlled releases from the Summersville Dam are scheduled for six weeks beginning after Labor Day, releasing 44 million gallons of water into the Gauley River at a rate of 50+ mph, creating premier whitewater rafting conditions. Gauley Season 2022 will include 22 scheduled water releases beginning the weekend of September 9th and running until the weekend of October 15th.

The Upper, Middle and Lower Gauley River make approximately 25 miles of world-class whitewater. The Upper Gauley is best for those looking for more of an intense, pulse pumping adventure. Here you will find legendary Big 5 Rapids – Insignificant, Pillow Rock, Lost Paddle, Iron Ring and Sweets Falls. This section is steep, fast and technical, rightfully earning its nickname: the Beast of the East.

The Middle Gauley provides a nice, calm reprieve between the Upper and Lower sections and is a great litmus test to decide if you are ready for the Lower. While not as steep and challenging as the Upper, the Lower Gauley holds its own as a high-quality section of whitewater.

The Lower Gauley really shines with its scenic cliff lines at Canyon Doors and Junkyard. Rapids like Upper Mash and Lower Mash will get your blood pumping.

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