New, West Virginia, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV(V) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||20 fpm|
|Max Gradient||27 fpm|
|New at Fayette Station|
|virtual-6362||-2.00 - 12.00 ft||III-IV(V)||01h16m||4.6899 ft (running)|
The section from Thurmond to Fayette Station is 14 mi. long; however, most paddlers shorten the
trip by running this 6.5 mi. section from Cunard to Fayette Station. This section contains all of
the rapids except for one called Surprise. The put in at Cunard takes out all of the long pools.
Plus, as a bonus the Park Service has built the best bathrooms I have ever seen at a National
Park! Great for those first-timer jitters! For more information on the "upper" section
see the Thurmond to Cunard
This is a big volume powerful river and can be run over a wide range of river levels. All of the descriptions of the rapids are at the level of 2 ft on the Fayette Station gauge. Most agree that the optimal level is 2ft. At this level the Kenneys, Double Z, and Fayette Station are really stompin'. The lower the river is, as you would expect, things get smaller. The weird thing is the higher the river goes the smaller features disappear and in my opinion things get easier. You have HUGE holes, but you have forever to make your move around them. Above 10 ft there are no real eddies and the river is really wide. That spells disaster for swimmers. If you do not have big water paddling skills then stay off above 6ft. The high max level is set at 12ft because that is the Park Service cutoff for rafting trips.
Thank you to the Keelhauler Canoe Club for a very nice shuttle map.
New River Gorge National River
NPS Guide to paddling the New River-Hinton to Thurmond
FYI: According to the people who know such things, the New River is the second oldest river in the world.
Geology of the New River Gorge
THE ORIGINS OF RAPIDS IN THE LOWER NEW RIVER GORGE, WEST VIRGINIA -- Dawn Anne Moore
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|3.3||Halls of Karma||II|
|5.2||Greyhound Bus Stopper||IV|
|6.3||Thread the Needle||III|
The Park Service has done alot of work on the road down to the put-in however it is steep, made of gravel, and at one point a one-way. It is very exciting on a busy summer weekend when everyone is fighting to get down or up with the commercial buses. Once at the bottom of the hill make a right. The commercial parking is straight ahead and the private parking is around to the left. There is not alot of parking spaces but you can park along side the road that leads to the fishing parking lot. Do not block the road.
After the pool at Cunard this is the first small rapid. Run straight down the middle for a perfect wave train. All the waves are the same size and equal distance, and that allows for a long set of wavewheels. Above 5ft there is a hole that forms on the left side that is not suitable for surfing.
FYI: The old stone bridge on the right that you see across the river as you enter this rapid is where Manns Creek dumps into the New.
After Pinball the flow of the river takes you to the right hand bank. In the pool here you are above a very large hole. The hole is called "the Cunard Stripper". At 2 ft it is not very surffable. You have two choices, run to right of the large rock sticking out of the river with alot of left hand angle. This will take you very close to the meat. Run to the left of the rock and miss the hole. As you get nearer to the train tressel head to the left to set up for a nice wave train. You are now in the large pool above Lower Railroad.
From pool at the top you can not see any features of this drop. Scout on the left or right. Start you run left of center and drive to the right to miss a hole on the left. From 4.5 to 5.5 ft start on the right hand bank. From here miss the top pourover and catch the large hole near the bottom. This is the best hole on the river with great eddy service to boot! One can spend all day here surfing. Must not be missed!
There has been a couple of fatalities in the rapid. At -2ft there is a very undercut rock 50 ft off of the left bank.
FYI: The pool above the rapid is the deepest on the river. It is so deep that folklore says there is a train deep in the water from a early 1900's accident.
After a short pool you will see this small rapid. During the summer it will be marked by all of the rafters swimming this one, hence the name. The best thing about this one is the Toilet Bowl. Start on the left side. As you float down to the top you will see a curler/tube. You can tuck up and it will flush you down or it is a good place to launch a kick flip. Small wave train runout.
This next rapid is marked by a rock jumble off of the right bank. As with most of the rapids on the New, there are a couple of ways to run this one. The sneak is to stay in the middle of the main flow but keep an eye out for Strippers Hole. It is deep and unkind. Stay in the flow and you should just pass it on the left. For the "creek" line head to the right hand bank. From here boof between the two boulders at the top. Then turn and ferry behind the large pourover. Peal out above Strippers Hole and get in the main flow.
In the pool work your way to left of center. There will be a playhole at the top of this rapid. You can hang out here and wait for a break in the line of rafts. At 2ft, once again you have two choices. The first is to float down and catch the wave on the fly. The second is to run Pig Farmers Falls. On the top left there will be two large boulders with water dropping between them. Paddle from right to left. Take a right boof stroke to launch over the hole below. The hole is backed up by a rock, so you really need to hit the boof and land in the eddy. After surfing, there is a HUGE eddy on the left. In the summer there will be a line of 20 or more paddlers waiting to surf. When you get tired of waiting, get in the main flow and catch the wave train down to the pool above Upper Kenney.
At flows above 4ft, Pig Farmers becomes a large hole. Stay away!
FYI: While you are surfing the wave, you can NOT see up stream at the many rafts that WILL take your head off.
You know you are here when you see a large rock on the left that looks like a whale. It is apptly named Whale Rock. This rapid is best if you run Upper and Middle Kenney as one rapid. Get with the main flow going around the right side of Whale Rock and brace down through the waves. After passing Whale Rock turn up stream and get left of center. You will now be set up for Middle Kenney.
At flows of 5ft and above the eddy line behind Whale Rock is nasty. A swim here will be long! Best to swing wide of the eddy line. At levels above 9ft Whale Rock becomes Whale Hole!. There no choice but to run all three of the Kenneys together as one large rapid at this level.
FYI: Kenneys Creek enters on the right.
Once you are set up after running Upper Kenney head down left of center. After going over the second rolling wave you will drop into a LARGE breaking wave hole. Depending on where it is at in the cycle, it maybe a wave. In that case you should go over it with no problem. However if it is a hole, there is a 50/50 chance that it will flip you. If you do flip, just wait for things to calm down and time your roll with the wave train below. If you make it upright just paddle through the maddness and eddy out in the large eddy on the right. The more skilled and daring paddlers like to try and catch this wave hole and surf it, but beware, just like Ender you cannot see upstream. The good news is most rafts take the center line so they are not a factor.
FYI: Most beginners walk this rapid only to run Lower Kenney. This rapid is not very hard but the out flow leads directly into the Meat Grinder in Lower Kenney. This was a fatality here in 2004. Swimmers need to swim hard to the eddy on the left. This eddy is huge and allows a nice place to rest and watch some carnage comming down the river. Great photo op!
This rapid is very hard to scout, but it can be done if you insist. The best line is to stay in the flow that is going to the left hand side. Stay in the middle and float along with right hand angle. As soon as you can see down the rapid you will see a large curler wave that is breaking to the left. You do NOT want this wave to take you that way. This will take you to a large rock called Washup Rock and a seive called the Juicer, bad place to be! Paddle hard from left to right and punch the wave. After you make that move just ride the rollercoaster down to the bottom. Catch the large eddy on the right to set up for surfing at Lollygag!
Halls of Karma is great mystery move spot for squirt boaters located at the bottom of Lower Keeney Rapid on river left.
Just after the wave train after Lower Kenney there will be 2 holes, one on each side of the river. The river left hole is not for surfing. The river right hole can produce dynamic, but enjoyable surfs! If you don't want to surf just follow the large tounge between the holes.
This rapid is marked by the large rock that looks like an upside down canoe from up stream. This rock is undercut but easy to avoid. Start right of center and work left. This will set you up for the "Dip". Just stay to the right to clear it.
After Dudleys you will end up in a huge slow moving pool. If you look down stream on the right hand bank, you will see a rock that looks just like a pyramid. This tells you that you are in the pool above Double Z. This is the most technical rapid on the New, and one you also must run. There is no easy portage.
After floating or practicing flat water tricks thru the pool you will see a rock that looks like a thumb sticking out of the water about 50 ft from the right bank. This is called "Thumb Rock".
You will start your run just to the left of this rock. Go around the rock and head to the right bank. There is a pourover that you are tring to miss with this move. Once to the bank you must then ferry behind the hole to the middle of the river.
Then turn downstream and paddle HARD with right hand boat angle, you will need to punch a large and powerful curling wavehole. If you punch this then you are home free. Paddle down thru the confused water making sure you stay away from the downsteam rocks as they are undercut, and you WILL go underneath them, boat and all. (Don't ask why I know) This is the "double z" move.
If you did not punch you hole you have more work to do. You need to roll as fast as you can because you are headed for Table Rock, and that forms Chair Hole. Roll and head to the right bank.
FYI: Another name for this rapid is "Sunset". During the summer and fall months at sunset, the sun is perfectly framed in the mountains and river downstream. I recomend everyone to see it. It is breath taking!
Below class III+ greyhound Bus Stopper. Get a view of New River Gorge Bridge then be ready for Undercut Rock. The undercut is near top of rapid on the right bank.
This rapid is right at takout, but you can avoid it by taking out just above the rapid on left shore. However you will miss the fun of running down the middle into the large waves and holes.