Whitewater Rafting

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Rafters plow through a rapid in West Virginia

Whitewater rafting is perhaps the extreme sport most popularly associated with West Virginia, though rafting adventures here need not been extreme and though many rivers in West Virginia outside the mountains are gentle. Many rafting rivers are suited to family-style rafting, and paddlers need little or no experience.  More than a dozen outfitters are licensed to guide rafting trips on West Virginia rivers.

Six whitewater rafting rivers!

West Virginia boasts six rivers that accommodate whitewater rafting. The New and Gauley rivers in southern West Virginia are among the world's best known as a result of their varied gentle and difficult sections. Rafters need not be experienced to run parts of either river. The Potomac and Shenandoah in eastern West Virginia are popular in part because of their proximity to Washington, D.C. The Cheat and North Branch in northern West Virginia are popular spring.

Whitewater Rafting Vacations

Whitewater Rafting Rivers

Map showing whitewater rafting areas

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Additional Rafting Information

Whitewater: Rafting v. Kayaking

The terms "rafting" and "paddling" and "whitewater" are sometimes applied inexactly, which can lead to confusion. Rafting and kayaking are both paddling sports enjoyed on whitewater. Rafting, however, is more often a commercial endeavor enjoyed by a group, and though it is a form of recreation, it is not a sport. Though many in West Virginia include whitewater and may be kayaked, only a few are wide enough to support watercraft is large as rafts, which may accommodate up to eight rafters.

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West Virginia Rafting News

Whitewater Rafting in the New River Gorge

National Geographic names rafting New River Gorge top 2024 experience

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — Whitewater rafting in the New River Gorge in West Virginia has been named one of National Geographic magazine’s “Best of the...
Sunset in the New River Gorge

Resort re-introduces sunset rafting trips in the New River Gorge

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — Old-time river rafters know that nothing compares to a sunset whitewater journey through the New River Gorge in West Virginia. The...
Kayaker on Deckers Creek, Morgantown, West Virginia, Monongalia County, Monongahela Valley Region

Making sense of whitewater rapid classifications

With its many rivers coursing through many different kinds of terrain, West Virginia is a paradise for paddlers and rafters, especially where whitewater paddling...
A raft launches into the Gauley River during an exciting excursion with River Expeditions.

Cool autumn weather could super-charge Gauley River rafting

The return of autumn could result in an end-of-season boom for whitewater rafting on the Gauley River, the legendary West Virginia destination for paddling...
Rafters rafting with Adventures on the Gorge prepare for an adventure on the Gauley River.

Gauley River whitewater rafting season begins Sept. 6

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...