Whitewater rafting in West Virginia

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 27-April 2, 1997
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Whitewater rafting in West Virginia

Whitewater rafting in West Virginia
Question: Any recommendations for an economical whitewater rafting (class III) trip in the Virginia/Carolina areas for a group of approximately five to 10 persons? Looking for about three to four days on the water and some mountain biking and hiking included. Total trip time approximately six to 10 days.

Michelle Bailey
Tampa, FL
[email protected]

West Virginia offers the best whitewater rafting in the Southeast
Adventure Adviser: Sad to say, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a river in the Southeast that runs hard enough and long enough to support a five-day rafting trip. But if you're willing to mix-and-match, or go with a shorter, three-day paddle, there's a whole raft (sorry) of trips to choose from.

In West Virginia, try Class VI River Runners' three-day raft-and-camp outing on the Upper New River, a fairly mild stretch of whitewater and flatwater that's perfect for families or rafters of varying skill levels. Trip cost is a reasonable $281 per person, including all meals and transport to the river; call 800-252-7784 for details. Another option is their three-day combination trip, which spends two days on the New River and one day on the more lively Gauley River ($285 per person). Class VI offers special rates for groups of nine or more people.

As for mountain biking in West Virginia, if you'd rather someone else take care of the logistics, consider having Class VI arrange a custom raft-and-bike trip for your group. They'll plan the fat-tire route and provide bike rentals and a trip leader; call them for details, as prices vary greatly depending on trip specifics.

If you'd rather strike out on your own, head northeast from the Class VI headquarters in Lansing to Slatyfork, the jumping-off point to the 500 miles of marked bike trails in Monongahela National Forest. Use the Elk River Touring Center, in Slatyfork, as your base (they offer bike rentals, skills clinics, and double rooms) for riding the 75 miles of singletrack along the Greenbrier River Trail. There's so much riding in this hardwood forest--from singletrack to logging roads to narrow-gauge railroad beds--that you'll be hard-pressed to choose your routes. Call Elk River at 304-572-3771 for prices and riding advice.

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