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West Virginia Whitewater Rafting

The New River Gorge, The Gauley, and The Cheat River

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Whitewater Rafting in West Virginia's Cheat River

Rafting the Cheat River

Photo © by George E. Sayour

West Virginia Whitewater Rafting offers some of the best and most consistent whitewater adventures in the whole country. Whether you’re looking for an early spring Class IV thrill ride or a mildly eventful summer paddle in the sun is more your speed, Fayetteville, WV is your whitewater rafting destination. The high concentration of raftable rivers in the vicinity of this small state is unparalleled in the United States. Additionally, consider that there are about 13 other states within striking distance of the rafting possibilities in West Virginia it is easy to see why this is often considered the whitewater Mecca of the East Coast.

The Wild and Wonderful State

Of course rafting and whitewater kayaking aren’t the only outdoor activities this part of West Virginia is known for. Hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers, base jumpers, and even bird watchers all flock to this part of the “Wild and Wonderful” state as there is no shortage of state parks, state forests, and national recreation areas to “play” in. Some of the events drawing visitors to the area include “Bridge Day,” the New River Gorge Bridge, the Gauley River Festival, and raft season to name a few.

Whitewater Rafting in West Virginia

Offering whitewater rafting trips in all but the winter months, West Virginia features every classification of whitewater paddling from Class III to Class V. In the center of it all is a small town known as Fayetteville, WV where the locals are more than accommodating to their rafting friends. Although there are many rafting possibilities in this area, the three most popular and main whitewater rafting destinations are:

 

 

West Virginia Whitewater Rafting Details

If you’re new to rafting, I recommend trying an early summer trip on the New River Gorge first. The weather will be warmer and the rapids will be a little more tame, relatively speaking, than in the spring. If you find you love it, then go for an autumn Gauley River trip or wait until the following spring when “The New” will be cranking. There are a number of great rafting outfitters in Fayetteville, West Virginia to choose from and most offer top notch service. My favorites (mostly due to their campground facilities) are:

 

 

Be sure to stay in the raft!

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