Oh yes . . . It’s almost Gauley SeasonAugust 25, 2022
It’s that time of year, the leaves start turning, the air gets crisper and the Gauley River gets rowdy!
The roaring Gauley River rushes to life on a few select days in September and October, making it one of the Top 10 whitewater rivers in the world for a short time in the fall.
The Gauley is famous for its “Big 5” rapids on the Upper section, but there’s also the less intimidating (and extremely fun) Lower Gauley. With the help of some of the world’s top raft guides, these trips are sure to be an adrenaline-inducing adventure.
This is by no means a trip for everyone. It’s a thrill ride, and the ride of a lifetime, but you have to be ready to take it.
How do you know if your family and friends are ready to face the Gauley? Here’s a checklist:
1. Are you all old enough?
This probably isn’t one for the littlest in your entourage but for the adventurous groups out there this can be a true bonding experience. Rafting outfitters have a minimum age for participants depending on the level of difficulty of the river section. On the Upper Gauley the age is 15-16 depending on the outfitter. The minimum age of 12 is the industry standard for the Lower Gauley section.
2. Do you want a wild adventure?
It’s not like a trip to a theme park. Everyone will be participating, paddling to take the raft down the river at the right angles and down the right routes. You guys have to be ready to really get in the game, and show those raging rapids who’s in charge!
3. Have you paddled before?
Your Gauley trip will go a lot more smoothly if you’re paddling correctly! If you’ve been on a whitewater trip before, you have probably learned more about the techniques and how to pull for a strong paddle stroke. Before taking on the Gauley, consider a New River rafting trip (or at least take the Lower before facing the Upper.)
4. Can you work as a team?
Whitewater rafting is more about teamwork than paddle strength. A boat full of perfect paddlers who are stroking out of sync will go nowhere. Your key to meeting the Gauley’s many challenges is working together.
Got all 4 of those down? Then prepare yourself for a wild ride!
And you can get an especially wild ride this year— there will be extra Gauley release days, with even higher water levels. So high, in fact, that you won’t be able to raft the Upper Gauley those days. The Big 5 will be too formidable. But you can catch the mega-high rapids on the Lower one day, and the regular roar of the Upper the next.
Or, you could just take an overnight trip. Camping together on the bank under the stars, beside the fire, with cooked meals included. It’s a great way to unwind after an exhilarating day.
And there are more ways to unwind or have fun after your trip— explore Fayetteville and all its quirky charm, or see more around the New River Gorge.
Book a trip with one of the whitewater river rafting companies to secure your group a spot on the boat!
Full Gauley Dates: September 9th-12th, 16th-19th, 23rd-26th, 30th
October 1st-3rd, 7th-10th, 15th-16th