Month of May ideal for high whitewater on New River

Rafters plunge into a West Virginia rapid on New River. Photo courtesy River Expeditions.

Perhaps no month is as ideal as May for whitewater rafting on the New River in West Virginia, if high water and big waves are what you seek.

Summery temperatures combine with spring rains in the Alleghenies to ensure rides on the river are as raucous as possible, says an official at one the region’s chief outdoor-recreation resorts.

“As far as thrill seekers are considered, May could be the best time to schedule a raft trip,” says Heather Johnson of River Expeditions.

“Everything on the river is bigger in spring when the water’s high, though generally speaking the weather has warmed into the ’80s, and pre-summer rates are still in place.”

The New, which is among the most popular rafting rivers in the eastern U.S., is also one of the warmest rafting rivers, thanks to a unique geologic circumstance, Johnson says.

“Other whitewater streams in Appalachia descend out of the mountains; however, the New crosses through the mountains after having been warmed in the Valley of Virginia,” she explained.


Regardless, wet suits are available for rafters who prefer to stay toasty warm on cooler spring mornings.

River Expeditions annually offers “Spring Fling ” rafting packages for enthusiasts that include a barbeque after the raft trip as well as two nights of camping, a light daily breakfast, and complimentary beverages at the The Red Dog River Saloon & Grill.

This year’s Spring Fling packages fall on .

In addition to rafting, the resort offers , , , and a on a 100-acre basecamp at Fayetteville near the rim of the New River Gorge.

The basecamp center also includes a dining hall, outfitters shop, meeting facilities, and an outdoor pool and hot tub as well as the saloon and grill, and students are welcome to stay in their choice of campgrounds as well as dozens of  .

For more information on rafting packages for university students or for general information on River Expeditions, call 800-463-9873 or visit their .


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