Everyone Loves a Rubber Duckie!


A two-person duckie on the New River


Get thrills without spills in a duckie!

When it comes to whitewater rafting, Southern West Virginia is the world’s headquarters. Ready to brave the waves?

Meet the duckie

Despite the goofy name, these inflatable kayaks are whitewater champs.

Duckies have awesome perks:

  • They automatically bail water, which means you won’t have to contend with flooding.
  • They’re stable, so even kids can paddle solo on the milder waters of the Upper New River.

Let’s take a look at where you can navigate a duckie in Southern West Virginia:

New River

The New River is one of the world’s most ancient landmarks, and all that age translates into outstanding whitewater, because the time-worn Gorge creates high-volume waves and rapids.

The Upper New is ideal for your first duckie ride because it’s wide, calm and shallow. And you won’t be overwhelmed by zippy rapids. The friskiest you’ll encounter are Class III waves, which can get big but don’t have natural hazards.

And the Upper isn’t speckled with many boulders, either. So you can paddle from playful rapids to calm pools without any obstacles in your way!

Gauley River

Hailed as the “Beast of the East” by whitewater paddlers, this river is wild. Controlled dam releases in the fall and more than 100 rapids make the Gauley one heck of a ride for advanced kayakers.

Since duckies can handle more action without bucking or flipping, you can paddle the middle Gauley during summer, when water levels are too low for a raft. The rocky run is a challenge— you’ll need to power through some big waves and pretty long rapids— but your guides will help you steer clear of obstacles.

Keep in mind that the Gauley can get low during summer. If you sign up for a duckie trip but it turns out the river isn’t runnable, don’t worry. Your outfitter will take you to the New River instead. And that’s not a compromise— it’s another trip of a lifetime.

Have you ever tried a duckie?