Whitewater river-running in the East

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of December 5-11, 1996
Holing up in the Georgia hills
Exploring Hot Springs National Park
Planning adventure trips with kids
Snorkeling the Nohoch cave system
Whitewater river-running in the East

Whitewater river-running in the East
Question: I really enjoy canoeing and I have some limited experience with rapids. I would like to try whitewater rafting, but I don't want the expense of an extended trip to the West. Are you aware of any two- to three-day, reasonably priced trips in the eastern United States?

Chip Gibson
Campbellsville, KY
[email protected]

West Virginia offers plenty
of whitewater opportunities

Adventure Adviser: You definitely don't need to lug yourself out West to find some decent multi-day raft trips. The proof is in two of America's best whitewater rivers, both in southern West Virginia. For starters, try the Upper New River, a great beginner whitewater river with long, gentle Class I and II rapids and a handful of Class IIIs and IVs to keep you honest. The 40-mile stretch that flows through Prince Canyon, Grand View Canyon, and Surprise Canyon can be run in one day or stretched over several days, into what is actually one of the few overnight raft trips in the East. Take your pick of outfitters--ACE Whitewater (800-787-3982), Class VI River Runners (304-574-0704), and North American River Runners (800-950-2585)--and craft; most companies dole out a range of boats, from low-key oar-powered rafts to paddle rafts to self-bailing, inflatable "ducky" kayaks.

In addition to their three-day, spring-summer trips on the Upper New ($281 per person), Class VI also offers a two-day paddle on the nearby Gauley River, with the first day spent on the Upper Gauley and the second day on the Lower and the night in between at a riverside camp. Sign on to this October-only trip and you can expect hair-raising V-plus rapids and plenty of foamy spray in the face, thanks to the regularly scheduled water releases from the Summersville Dam upstream. Price is $263 per person; call Class VI for details.

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