Gauley River National Recreation Area

You must be bold to go deep into the Gauley! Beyond the serene Summersville Lake and dam, a roaring river descends into the valley. Known as “The Beast of the East,” the Gauley River is considered to be one of the world’s top 10 whitewater rivers.

Every fall, dam releases pump the river with even more water, creating some of the best whitewater on the East Coast. The Gauley attracts whitewater enthusiasts who travel from around the world to take on the rapids.

The river is divided into two distinct sections: Upper Gauley and Lower Gauley. The whitewater section of the river stretches more than 27 miles dropping more than 800 feet. There are over 100 Gauley River rapids; more than 50 of them are rated Class III and higher, including 5 which are considered Class V+.

If whitewater rapids are a little too daunting for you but you still want to experience the beauty of the Gauley River – then grab your fishing pole! The Gauley is a river to catch smallmouth bass, trout, walleye and much more. The Spring and Fall are the most popular seasons for fishing this area. Want to go fishing but not sure where to start? Book a fishing trip with one of the local outfitters!

Overall, the Gauley River National Recreation Area protects 25 miles of the Gauley River and six miles of its tributary, the Meadow River.