Gauley River National Recreation Area

Quick Facts

Gauley River National Recreation Area

West Virginia

(540) 962-1138

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

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.

Map of Gauley River

Latitude, Longitude: 38.206128, -80.961927

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Activities

  • Boating

    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 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.

    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).

    The area is open year round. The official Gauley boating season is from early September through mid October. Boating is occasionally possible at other times, depending on water releases from Summersville Dam.

  • Camping

    The Gauley River National Recreation Area does not maintain any full service campgrounds. Primitive sites are available at the Summersville Dam tailwaters area. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers runs a full-service campground at Battle Run on Summersville Lake.

  • Fishing

    Contact the park for more information.

  • Hunting

    Hunting within accordance of state regulations is permitted in many areas of the park. Check with park officials for more information on rules, regulations, and recommended hunting spots.

  • Water Sports

    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 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.

    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).

Directions

Driving

Located in southern West Virginia, the Gauley River National Recreation Area is between Summersville Dam and Swiss, WV. Access is via WV Route 129, off US Route 19. The closest airports are at Beckley and Charleston, WV.

Flying

The largest airport is at Charleston, about 65 miles from Summersville. There are also small airports at Summersville and Beckley.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(540) 962-1138

Links