Secrets Of The Gauley River: The Best Part Of Rafting

white water rafting

White water rafting in WV

The best part of the Gauley River is a secret. But you don’t have to have gone whitewater rafting on it to know what the secret is.

In fact, if you want to know the secret yourself, just keep reading.

What The Best Part Isn’t

The best part of Gauley isn’t the weather. It can be awesome. Clear and crisp, the most beautiful fall days filling one of the most beautiful river gorges in the world. Those bluebird afternoons rafting toward your next rapid,well … it doesn’t get much better.

Of course, the weather can get foul, too. Storms blowing in from the coast bring big water and awesome rapids, but the weather can be cold, wet, and downright miserable. Sometimes.

So it’s not the weather.

The best part of the Gauley isn’t the scenery. Sure, it’s gorgeous. Mixed deciduous forest blends into evergreen tamaracks and pines, all marbled by weathered sandstone cliffs and boulders. Wildlife abounds. And it’s tied together by the river, of course. Pretty nice.

But half the time, you’re so taken by the rapids, or so preoccupied by what you’re doing, or so gripped by the prospect of rafting through some of the continent’s most difficult whitewater, you can’t pay attention. And on those bad weather days, the scenery isn’t doing a lot to help.

So it’s not the scenery.

The best part of the Gauley isn’t even the rapids. Yes, they’re big. They’re a blast. They’re just about the most fun you can have in a raft anywhere in the world. Gauley River rapids are classics.

But sometimes, they’re too big. It can rain a lot, and things get rolling a bit too much. Or maybe your team just doesn’t feel it on this one or that one and you crash. It happens.

So it’s not the rapids.

What The Best Part Is

The best thing about the Gauley River is the people. Hands down. Bar none. The Gauley is home to some great people.

Guests. Guides. Rangers. Video boaters. Kitchen staff. Campground crews. Once a year, they all come together, around this one stretch of river. It’s amazing.

And it really does bring out the best in people. The excitement, the adrenaline, the constant, rib-bruising laughter, the camaraderie that gets built along the way. It all adds up.

People really are different after a Gauley trip. Changed. It’s a good thing.

The best, really.

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