Gauley River Rafting Trips: The Expert’s Guide To Checking In

Booking a whitewater rafting trip down the Gauley River is kind of like taking a trip on an airplane. Seriously.


You don’t show up for an 11am flight at 10:55, and the same goes for a Gauley trip. Checking in during Gauley Season actually starts about two weeks prior to the time you arrive.

Here’s the breakdown:

Two weeks prior: You should have your trip time in hand, via email or snail mail. This time is set in stone, so if you’re on the 7am Upper Gauley, that means 6am check-in (we have coffee!). Honestly, once you’re on the water, you won’t care. It also means you’re back at ACE, watching your video in dry clothes by 2:30. Cool, right?

One week prior: Start checking the weather forecast for Fayetteville,WV, zip code 25840. By looking ahead, you already know if you’ll be packing just one layer of long underwear for under your board shorts or if you’ll be sorting through your change jar, trying to get the $23 to cover the cost of the wetsuit/ Neoprene jacket/ nylon splash jacket/ Neoprene booties package. Once the daily high starts dropping into the low 70s, I’d start considering the wetsuit package. It’s not going to get to 70 degrees until 4pm, so the morning will be a bit chilly.

Three days prior: Check the forecast again. Make sure you have all the on- and off-river layers you’ll need. There’s nothing worse than coming off the 55-degree Gauley water on a 65-degree day and only having tank tops and shorts because you thought it’d be 85 and sunny.

DAY OF: Wahoo! It’s finally time for your Gauley adventure! Check in at the Big Top Tent with Ashton at the trip check-in window one hour prior to your trip time. Be ready to go at this time! Being there one hour before departure doesn’t mean you have 60 minutes to eat breakfast, pack up your cabin and read the New York Times. It means there’s one hour to meet your trip leader, fill out your waiver, get your gear and get on the bus that’s taking you to your world-class adventure!

Follow the trip check-in schedule and you’ll be all aces for your trip (see what I did there?) See you soon!

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