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Your Guide to Summer Whitewater in Southern West Virginia

It’s no secret that Southern West Virginia is home to some of America’s best whitewater. In fact, the USA Rafting Championship will be held there this September! The New and Gauley rivers are two of the most popular rivers in this region, and summer is the perfect time take a whitewater trip. From beginner level to the most experienced rafter, there are trips for everyone and every age. Climb in a raft or ducky – it’s time to hit the rapids!

Find the Perfect Trip

Not all whitewater rafting trips are created equal. Find the right fit and the perfect outfitter for you and your group!

Got small kiddos on your vacation? No worries, they can go rafting, too! The Upper New River is perfect for families with small children, or for first-time rafters who may want to take things slow. This section features beginner class I-III rapids, calm pools and beautiful scenery. Most outfitters will take children as young as 6 on the Upper New River.

Looking for a wilder ride? The Lower New is where it’s at! You’ll experience bigger, more technical class III-V rapids as the New River narrows and you make the steep descent into the New River Gorge. This heart-pounding trip is ideal for those looking for an adventure, but will also thrill experienced rafters.

Most people associate the Gauley River with big, churning water in the fall, but summer Gauley trips are just as exciting! This trip will take you out of your comfort zone and into new whitewater territory, complete with huge boulders, swirling hydraulics and technical lines. Choose from a guided raft or a ducky that you paddle yourself to navigate this challenging class V river. It’s worth noting that this trip is not for first-time rafters; you should get your feet wet by taking a trip on the Lower New before hitting the Gauley!

If you want the ultimate rafting experience, try an overnight trip! These 2-day rafting trips are perfect for those who can’t get enough of the outdoors. You’ll camp under the stars along the banks of the river, next to a crackling fire. A chef will prepare your meals, so all you have to do is relax. Overnight trips are available on the Upper New, Lower New, and Gauley from most outfitters.

Start Planning

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on Southern West Virginia’s summer whitewater scene, it’s time to start planning your trip! There’s a lot to do here – you never know what you’ll find waiting around the next bend in the river. Stay a little longer and discover your next adventure in Southern West Virginia.

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