Gauley River whitewater rafting season begins Sept. 6

Gauley River whitewater rafting season begins Sept. 6
Rafters prepare for a whitewater adventure on the Gauley River in West Virginia. (Photo: Adventures on the Gorge)

One of the most scenic rivers in the U.S. becomes one of the best whitewater rafting runs in the world on September 6, attracting rafters from across North America and beyond. The Beast of the East, rafters call it.


Rafting guides liken the start of "Gauley Season"—the 22 days in September and October when the river churns—to Christmas morning. Rafters describe it as epic. Roger Wilson, chief executive officer at Adventures on the Gorge, calls it plain fun.

“For whitewater rafting enthusiasts, Gauley Season is as good as it gets anywhere in the world,” says Wilson, who's also life-long rafter and rafting guide.

“The excitement among our staff and guests is palpable because we know that every day of the season is going to be a day to remember. Adventures that are of this caliber can change your life."


Each morning during Gauley Season, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases water upstream from Summersville Lake, turning the Gauley into a torrent, creating more than 100 rapids including five long Class-V rapids with massive drops, violent currents, and natural obstacles.

What to know about Gauley Season with Adventures on the Gorge

  • There’s still time to book a Gauley Season trip. Opening day is Friday, Sept. 6, and the final Gauley day is Sunday, Oct. 20.
  • Park your vehicle once, and Adventures on the Gorge will take it from there. Named one of the top adventure resorts in the country, Adventures features everything travelers need, including a wide range of lodging options, campgrounds, restaurants, and bars as well as other adventures like zip lines and rock climbing.
  • There are 14 one- to four-day rafting trip choices during Gauley Season ranging from a full-day rafting trip on the Lower Gauley (starting at $129 per person) to the outrageously extreme Gauley-athon ($779 per person), with eight trips in four days on the Upper Gauley paddling some of the best whitewater in the world.
  • There are also camping-and-rafting-and-dining packages such as the Gauley River Reverse Package, with two days of whitewater rafting, camping at the resort, two riverside lunches, two breakfasts, and one dinner. Rates start at $250 per person.
  • The resort’s location is easily accessible for travelers from many mid-Atlantic, eastern and midwestern cities.

Named one of the top six adventure resorts in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Adventures on the Gorge is located on more than 250 acres along the rim of the majestic New River Gorge near Fayetteville, West Virginia, and provides an array of outdoor experiences including whitewater rafting on the New and Gauley Rivers; an aerial adventure park, two zip line courses; rock climbing; rappelling; kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, mountain biking, and hiking. There are also restaurants, bars, and shops.

Travelers can find out more about Adventures on the Gorge online, by calling 1-855-379-8738, or connecting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, TripAdvisor, YouTube, and Vimeo, and signing up for AOTG e-newsletter.

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