West Virginia Paddling Events

An ideal family sport, flat-water kayaking is increasingly popular in West Virginia. Photo courtesy Active Southern West Virginia.
Kayakers gather at one of many WV paddling events. Photo by Molly Wolff courtesy Active Southern West Virginia.

West Virginia paddling events are sponsored throughout most of the state where rafting, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding are popular. Please let us know if you know of an event that should be added.


2019 West Virginia Paddling Events

Greenbrier River Race
April 27: Marlinton, West Virginia
An annual triathlon that promotes the 78-mile Greenbrier River Trail, the race consists of a 3.1-mile run, a four-mile paddle, and 10-mile bike route.

Great Buffalo Kayak and Canoe Race
May 4: Mannington, West Virginia
Kayaks and canoes race eight miles downstream on Buffalo Creek from Mannington to Farmington in this fun run being hosted annually since 1966.

Cheat Fest
May 3-4: Albright, West Virginia
A paddling race on 11 miles of the Cheat River’s whitewater anchors this annual two-day festival that boasts art, music, workshops, and a 5K running race. 

Almost Heaven Race
May 18: Summersville, West Virginia
Three-mile, six-mile, and 12-mile races in several boating categories begin and end at the Battle Run Campground on Summersville Lake.

Jack Barker Memorial Race
May 19: Buckhannon, West Virginia
A four-mile paddling race up and back on the Buckhannon River will also be joined by a mile-long sprint race for parent-child combinations.

Float the Fork
May 31-June 1: West Milford, West Virginia
A 5.5-mile paddling race and a float from Goodhope to West Milford highlight this weekend celebration of the West Fork of the Monongahela.

Meet-the-Cheat Community Paddle
June 1: Rowlesburg, West Virginia
Discover the gentle and majestic Cheat River upstream of its renowned whitewater section on the Upper Cheat River Water Trail.

Meet-the-Cheat Community Paddle
June 8: Saint George, West Virginia
Discover the gentle and majestic Cheat River upstream of its renowned whitewater section on the Upper Cheat River Water Trail.

Active SWV Family Triathlon
June 8: Summersville, West Virginia
Focused on beginners and families, this triathlon on Summersville Lake includes a 1.2-mile run, a two-mile bike ride, and a one-mile paddle.

Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival
June date TBA: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Event description: Race Information – Friday evening Attainment Race and Doah Cup Raft Race. Saturday 3.4 trail foot race and Downriver Race.

Tour de Coal River
June 15: Saint Albans, West Virginia
An annual 11-mile float trip from Meadowood Park at Tornado to Saint Albans raises funds for river restoration and Coal River education activities.

Captain Thurmond’s Triathlon
August 3: Fayetteville, West Virginia
An extreme triathlon, this courses over 28.5 miles and includes mountain biking, whitewater paddling, and trail running in the New River Gorge.

Thurmond Family Triathlon
August 4: Thurmond, West Virginia
Families compete together in a gentle triathlon that includes a one-mile bike segment, one-mile paddle segment, and a two-mile run.

Grafton Adventure Fest
August TBA: Grafton, West Virginia
On the Tygart River, biking, running, and kayaking anchor stand-up paddleboard races, a bass fishing tournament, a climbing wall competition, and off-road adventure.

Kanawha River Falls Festival
September 19: Glen Ferris, West Virginia
A whitewater kayak race, a freestyle kayak competition, and a photography competition highlight this celebration of the falls of the Kanawha River.

New River Gorge SUP Race
September 22: Fayetteville, West Virginia
Three stand-up paddleboard competitions anchor this festival on the New River beneath the New River Gorge Bridge.

Gauley River Animal Race
September 23: Mount Nebo, West Virginia
This intense class-V whitewater race runs the Gauley River’s upper whitewater section below Summersville Dam and Summersille Lake.

Capital City Challenge
Date TBA: Charleston, West Virginia
Hosted in West Virginia’s scenic capital city, this triathlon incorporates a 4.2-mile run, a 16.8-mile bike ride, and a 2.2-mile row on the Kanawha River.

Parkersburg Paddlefest
September 13-15: Parkersburg, West Virginia
Kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards are welcome during this three-day celebration where the Little Kanawha River joins the Ohio.