Whitewater Rafting on West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River

new white water rafting
White water rafting on the New River near the New River Gorge Bridge

Located in Oak Hill West Virginia, (map) Ace Adventure Resort is within 30 minutes of 100 miles of world class white water rapids on the New and Gauley rivers. New white water rafting and Gauley white water rafting have been the outfitters main focus since 1980. New River Gorge National River includes 53 miles of protected river. The Gauley is widely acknowledged to be one of the most exciting and challenging white water experiences in the country. Although river rafting is their forte, the outfitter also offers a full menu of other adventure sports. Guests can explore New River Gorge by zip lining, rock climbing, mountain biking, trail riding, hiking, kayaking, and fishing.

New White Water Rafting (see map below)

Choose between one half day and full day of New white water rafting trips. Depending on the section of river you choose, rapids vary from Class II-III to Class V+.

The Upper New White Water Rafting

The New River has two distinct sections within the 50 miles New River Gorge National River. The upper section of New white water rafting contains a few challenging Class III rapids, but for the most part  it is less intense with mostly Class I and II rapids. It’s suitable for kids or beginning white water rafters with little or no experience. Some boaters on this section of the river opt to paddle a “Duckie,” an inflatable play boat that is something of a cross between a canoe and a kayak. It’s easy to paddle and makes every rapid fun. Fishing can definitely be a part of the experience on this section of the the New River.

The Lower New River

The nature of the river changes north of Thurmond with more than 25 Class II to IV rapids coming one right after another. Rapids with names like The Keeny Brothers, Upper and Lower Railroad, and Double Z, provide individual challenges to the most experienced white water rafters. The New River Gorge is over 1,000 feet deep. Because of the way the river flows south-to-north rather than west to east like most Appalachian rivers, some geologists have theorized that the New River may actually be one of the oldest rivers in the world.

Gauley River White Water Rafting (see map below)

The Gauley has more than 100 major rapids over half of which are rated Class III and above. Over a 25-mile stretch the river is divided into two sections, the Upper Gauley and the Lower Gauley. The upper section is the most challenging of the two with surprising drops, deep holes, and large waves. The Lower Gauley is less intense but only slightly so. The Gauley is on plenty of lists as one of the top 10 white water rafting rivers in the world.

Gauley River White Water Rafting – Pick a Trip

Choose between a half-day and a full day white water rafting trips on the Gauley River. Or raft two full days and overnight on the river. Total length of the two-day trip is 15 miles with 5-to-6 hours of rafting each day.

Raft Options for New and Gauley Rivers White Water Rafting

  • 12-Foot Raft 4 people with a minimum age of 18
  • 14-Foot Raft 6 people with a minimum age of 15
  • 16-Foot Raft, 8 + people with a minimum age of 12

Lodging Options at Ace Adventure Resort

Ace Adventure Resort has a variety of lodging accommodations to suit a range of personal tastes and budgets. There are 409 deluxe cabins with hot tubs, plus cabin tents, bunk houses, cedar cabins and plenty of campsites.

GETTING PERSPECTIVE ON THE NEW AND GAULEY RIVERS: The New River Gorge National River is affectionately known as the “Grand Canyon of the East” and features rafting from April through October. The New and Gauley Rivers combined offer over 100 miles of rapids all within 30 minutes of Ace Adventure Resort. Both rivers are administered by the National Park Service.

GAULEY FACTS: Beginning the Friday after Labor Day the Army Corps of Engineers provides a series of 22 controlled releases from the dam at Summersville Lake, known as the “Gauley Season.” Release levels range from 2,400 cubic per second to 2,800 cubic feet per second. These releases are a result of an act of the U.S. Congress, the first ever to promote white water boating. Paddlers come from all over the U.S. to be a part of the releases.

See More White Water Rafting Rivers and Outfitters

See Brown’s Guides Directory of the 24 Best White Water Rafting Outfitters in the United States along with the outfitters who conduct white water rafting trips on them.

Read more about Ace Adventure Resort

Maps by Ace Adventure Resorts

new white water rafting

new white water rafting


Brown's Guide
About Brown's Guide 335 Articles
Brown’s Guides is a website about the top outdoor experiences in America and about the professional outfitters and guides who know them best. BG selects guides and outfitters located in or in close proximity to the Natural Areas they provide activities in. These outfitters know the areas and care about protecting and preserving them in a way that outfitters based in other states never can. Hiking, biking, sea kayaking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and other outdoor activities are indexed on the site. BG has been doing this type of thing since 1972 in books, magazines, maps and on the Internet.

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