Gauley River Whitewater Rafting Trips

Gauley River Whitewater Rafting Trips

“Gauley Season” begins the first weekend after Labor Day, and is the premier whitewater rafting experience in West Virginia. For six weekends following Labor Day, the rapids are supplemented by controlled dam releases, creating whitewater ranging from class I-V. On the Lower Gauley you’ll find less frequent but more dramatic rapids, whereas the Upper Gauley is swarming with challenging whitewaters.

Cantrell Ultimate Rafting offers Lower and Upper Gauley River whitewater rafting trips, including partial and full day excursions as well as group and family rafting for you adventurers.

Cantrell Ultimate Rafting offers Gauley River whitewater rafting trips for every type of skill level:

Lower Gauley River Whitewater Rafting Trips

The Lower Gauley, a moderately difficult seventeen-mile stretch of whitewater rapids, ranging from Class I-V, is an excellent choice for enthusiastic rafters, and is often the next step after paddling the Lower New. Rafters often describe the Lower Gauley run as an amusement park ride where one can observe some of the most magnificent scenery that West Virginia has to offer.

World-renowned rapids such as Heaven’s Gate, Koontz’s Flume, Rattlesnake, Roostertail, and Pure Screaming Hell are all located on this run, making for not only an exciting, but also memorable experience. The weekend after Labor Day, marking the beginning of “Gauley Season,” pushes tons of gushing water into the Lower Gauley, making rafting this area of the Gauley a yearly tradition for people all over the world.



The Upper Gauley, termed by paddlers all over the world as “The Beast of the East,” is a ten-mile stretch harboring over a dozen highly intense whitewater rapids, ranging from Class IV-V. The “Big Five” rapids, including Insignificant, Pillow Rock, Lost Paddle, Iron Ring, and Sweet’s Falls are all Class V rapids guaranteed to present even the most experienced rafter with a challenge.

The Upper Gauley, being one of the most strenuous whitewater runs in the world, should only be sought by such experienced rafters who feel confident in maneuvering through these high-impact rapids. The Friday after Labor Day in September, what marks the beginning of “Gauley Season,” is a date held dear as the Summersville Dam is released, making the following six weeks of rafting the controlled releases into the Upper Gauley a yearly tradition for thrill-seekers everywhere.


Only experienced rafters with solid stamina, and a need for DOUBLE ADRENALINE should take on the following challenges: