Big drops (Class I to V+), complex rapids, and excellent scenery characterize the Upper Gauley River. Some of the major rapids encountered include Insignificant, Pillow Rock, Iron Ring, Lost Paddle, and Devil's Backbone (also known as Sweet's Falls). Because of the challenging nature of the Upper Gauley, we do not recommend this for folks who are intimidated by prior rafting trips or cannot swim.
The Lower Gauley River is a little less intense than the Upper Gauley River but not any less fun! A little less technical and characterized by roller coaster waves, the Lower Gauley also sports impressive scenery. Despite names of rapids like Mash, The Gates (of Heaven or Hell?), and Pure Screaming Hell, this section of the Gauley River ought not be missed. Most veteran guides consider this their favorite section.
Beginning the first weekend after Labor Day weekend (September 9) and ending six weeks later, the US Army Corps of Engineers releases water from Summersville Lake into the Gauley's riverbed for the Fall Gauley Draw Down.
What to Expect:
Upon your arrival at Class VI, a staff member greets you at our check-in location. During the check-in process, each participant is required to sign our release form prior to your trip. Minors unattended by legal guardians must bring a signed Class VI release form. After signing the release form, and changing into river wear, you will have time to enjoy a complimentary reception of Starbuck's coffee and juice in Chetty's Pub. (Chetty's also offers an assortment of a' la carte breakfast items.) All gear and food are transported by U-Haul to the campsite. After loading your personal gear onto our vehicles, we get a life jacket and helmet, then load up and head for the river. The bus rides to and from the river on the Gauley Two Day trip take from 45 minutes to just over an hour.
At the put-in on the river, your trip leader and guide deliver a safety talk covering the fundamentals of rafting and proper use of river equipment. Part way down the river, we pull off for a wholesome, riverside deli-style lunch.
Late in the afternoon we pull over to set up camp alongside the river. As the 'camp cooks' prepare a feast of food, try your luck fishing, read a book, marvel at the scenery, skip stones across the water, or enjoy trading stories about the day's adventure. After dinner, the campfire becomes the main gathering area while others might play cards under the pavilion. Or you can simply listen to the sounds of the river and the night.
Following a hearty breakfast, we break camp, load the gear, and head down river. Once again, we'll stop for a riverside, deli-style lunch. At the take-out point, the gear is loaded onto our vehicles and we head back to Class VI while enjoying a complimentary beverage. You can take a hot shower, change into dry clothes, shop at our Canyon Rim Store, take a stroll to our scenic overlook and dine at Smokey's On The Gorge - all located at Class VI's canyon rim facility.
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