Summer Gauley River Rafting in West Virginia

For the ultimate "wet & wild" adventure, the Gauley is our go-to river in the summer. Its combination of water clarity, remoteness and maze of boulders make it a unique white water opportunity - more like an epic journey, a feat, a top 10 bucket list item.
Only veteran guides with proper training run the Summer Gauley. It's very special, but it's not for everyone. You need to be mentally prepared for the challenge and in good shape. Yes, you may swim; and yes, you may have the time of your life


  • Deep-water canyon with magnificent beauty - waterfalls, sheer cliff walls and giant boulders
  • One of rafting's best kept secrets - in this remote wilderness canyon, you will rarely see another group or evidence of the world outside
  • With chutes and drops around every bend, this trip is intended for the adventurous - it's busy, challenging and great fun all at the same time
  • Filling and refreshing deli lunch packed with healthy snacks, salads and tasty desserts
  • Minimum Age: 15

Trip Options:

Summer Upper Gauley - All DaySummer-Gauley-Raft-Trip-Image

  • Class II-IV (V) technical rapids with house size boulders and big drops
  • Riverside deli lunch
  • Minimum Age: 15
  • Season: April-August


Rates Per Person:
REGULAR RATE:     $119
PEAK RATE:          $139

Those looking for an intermediate whitewater experience on the Gauley, jump on the Summer Lower Gauley - min. age: 13

2014 Peak Days: Saturdays 5/3 - 10/18, 5/25, 7/4, 8/31


White Water Boat Options

Releases from the Summersville Dam, which are dependent on rain, determine what craft (raft or Fun Yak) we use to get down the Summer Gauley each day. Often this decision is not made until the morning of departure.


  • About 50% of the time, we navigate the Summer Upper gauley in a raft - and with 3 boat sizes, we're covered for most anything Mother Nature sends our way
  • It offers a good balance between stability and maneuverability at high water
  • Professional guide in every raft provides instruction


  • When the river is too low to navigate in a raft, we switch to one-person inflatable kayaks (occurs about 49% of the time)
  • Highly responsive, these boats come with thigh-straps for extra control
  • Guides lead the way and are positioned at more technical features to keep paddlers on track
    *There is a 1% chance the water will be running too high for the Upper Gauley, and we'll have to move to the Lower Gauley.


Boat Size

The Gauley has runnable flows 95% of the year. Boat size, trip length and river section change according to water level. For Summer Gauley white water rafting, ACE uses 1-person inflatable kayaks (FunYaks) and/or 4+, 6+ and 8+ person rafts. Mother Nature determines the river and river section, but during an average year, you can expect to be boating the Gauley in the following crafts:
MonthAvg. CFS RangeDescriptionCraft
April 1,200 - 5,200 cfs The Summersville Dam is being refilled making water levels unpredictable. Be ready to paddle! 4+, 6+ or 8+ person raft
May 1,200 - 6,000 cfs Expect high water - usually the highest water flows outside Fall Gauley Season. Great for the adventure seeker. 4+, 6+ or 8+ person raft
June 300 - 6,500 cfs The Gauley becomes very technical in early summer and must still be navigated by raft. A great option for those looking for a wild and scenic stretch of river. FunYak, 4+ person raft or 6+ person raft
July 200 - 4,500 cfs The rapids on the Gauley change to technical chutes and drops. If you’re ready to maneuver these river currents in your own boat, this is the time to tackle the Gauley. FunYak, 4+ person raft or 6+ person raft
August 500 - 3,000 cfs With the temperatures soaring, this is a great time to take advantage of refreshing Gauley flows. A perfect option for the active and adventurous. FunYak or 4+ person raft
September 2,500 - 3,200 cfs This is Fall Release dates: Check out all the trips we offer under Fall Gauley Trips. 4+, 6+ or 8+ person raft
October 2,500 - 3,200 cfs This is Fall Release dates: Check out all the trips we offer under Fall Gauley Trips. 4+, 6+ or 8+ person raft
*If you get cold easily, or if it's an overcast, rainy day, we recommend a wetsuit rental. It's way easier to cool off than it is to warm up. And neoprene adds some nice padding.
**As a general guide line the cut-off for duckies is approximatley 1,300 cfs on the Lower Gauley and approximatley 550 cfs. on the Upper Gauley.

The Gauley is famous for its Top Ten World Class rating and reputation during the 22 day Autumn scheduled dam releases from Summersville Lake into the Gauley river bed.

BUT the Gauley does flow all summer - May thru August.

The Army Corps of Engineers maintains Summersville Lake level at 1,652 feet above sea level - which is summer pool. Above this amazingly clear lake are 3 rivers: the Cherry, Cranberry and Williams rivers. Throughout the summer the combined flows of these 3 rivers are released daily from the dam that forms Summersville Lake.

The trick is that we do not know what the exact release will be until that morning of the trip. We have this covered with 3 additional exclusive private access points and 4 sizes of boats, allowing us to choose the best possible options for the ultimate experience. 


We pioneered these trips and more guests choose ACE as their Summer Gauley outfitter than all the companies combined.

What To Wear

  • Shorts and/or bathing suit
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses with strap
  • River sandals or old shoes
  • How 'bout that game face?
  • Gauley water comes from the bottom of the dam and is rather cold, even on hot summer days we recommend sleeveless wetsuit and a windbreaker. These are available for rent at ACE.
  • Video - What To Wear

What To Bring

  • Sunscreen
  • Personal prescription medication
  • Extra layers (non-cotton)
  • Waterproof camera
  • A little gumption

Don't Bring

  • Towels
  • Wallets, keys, rings or jewelry
  • Non-waterproof digital cameras
  • Cell phones
  • Lame friends


  • Deli-Variety of cold cuts and cheeses for snadwhiches, PB & J, assorted salads (pasta, seafood, potato), baked beans, chips & salsa, fresh veggies & dip, trail mix, fresh fruit, cokkies & desserts. Drinks may include water and lemonade.

Whitewater Safety Orientation Video


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