Water Release for Gauley Season Starts Friday - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Water Release for Gauley Season Starts Friday

Gauley River rafting season will soon be in progress with the Summersville Dam water release. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will unleash thousands of gallons of water from the Summersville Dam in Nicholas County. These events create one of the most intense whitewater rafting east of the Mississippi, transforming the Gauley River into the so-called "Beast of the East." Ranked among the best in whitewater the world, the Gauley is a combination of non-stop adventure and scenic views with more Class IV and V rapids than any other river in the Eastern United States. 

The water release dates are scheduled as follows: 

  • Sept. 14-17
  • Sept. 21-24
  • Sept. 28-Oct. 1
  • Oct. 5-8, Oct. 13-14
  • and Oct. 21 (note: Oct. 20 is Bridge Day)

Throughout West Virginia, there are a number of other whitewater rafting opportunities, including the New River which features a 240-foot drop over a 14-mile stretch as the river cuts its way through a 1,000-foot-deep sandstone gorge. The New's Class I to V rapids make it a favorite with rafters from around the country. 

Rafting experts say the Upper New is perfect for float and fishing trips, while the Middle New features Class II and III rapids. The Lower New runs through the heart of the gorge, passing beneath the longest steel arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere. 

Rafting isn't limited to the state's southern region, however. In the northern half of the state, adventure enthusiasts will find the boulder-strewn canyon of the Cheat River which contains more than 30 technical rapids in the Class III to IV range. The Tygart also ranks among the mightiest rivers in the nation while also offering mostly uncrowded runs due to its location. This 10-mile-long river boasts rapids ranging from Class I to V and is home to Wells Falls, considered the most powerful, runable drop in the Monongahela River basin.

The Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, in the Eastern Panhandle, offer rapids that are great for families and group outings. The river route, through scenic Harpers Ferry, also provides opportunity to enjoy our history from a different perspective. 

For information on rafting opportunities within the state and a list of outfitters, go to www.wvtourism.com