Cheat - 1. (Narrows) Below Rowlesburg to above Albright Power Dam

Cheat, West Virginia, US


1. (Narrows) Below Rowlesburg to above Albright Power Dam (Narrows)

Usual Difficulty II-III (varies with level)
Length 3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 20 fpm
Max Gradient 30 fpm

Calamity Rock 5+ Cheat Fest 02' Level

Calamity Rock 5+ Cheat Fest 02' Level
Photo of Kenny! by Walt taken 05/04/02 @ 5+?

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03069500 450 - 10000 cfs II-III 00h18m 826 cfs (running)

River Description

Source: Connelly (Editor), Appalachian Whitewater : The Northern States, 4th Edition. Text used with permission.
The putin for the Narrows is opposite a worked-out limestone mine approximately three miles below Rowlesburg. Here you encounter the first big waves below Rowlesburg called Cave Rapids. For the rest of this five-mile trip, the rapids become increasingly more difficult. There are good rescue spots after each rapids, but in high water (three to four feet), it's not so easy. After passing several Class II-III rapids, the paddler enters a long series of similar rapids, properly called the "Narrows."
In the first significant rapids, the entire river is necked down by the presence of an automobile-sized boulder (Calamity Rock) in midstream which makes passage at any level difficult...Usually this boulder should be run through the passage to the right. At very high levels, however, it's best to run along the left bank...
Though you can putin and takeout at several spots along the road (Rte. 72), the typical takeout is at Lick Run, about 3-4 miles South of Kingwood. The river pretty much flattens out after that.

Downstream is the more difficult and more committing Cheat Canyon. For bad craziness, you might want to grab a look at Pringle Run, which drops into the Cheat just upstream of Lick Run.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-08-28 18:36:14

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
2.5Calamity RockIII+Waterfall Playspot Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Calamity Rock (Class III+, Mile 2.5)


Photo of Zeth by Patricia Hachick taken 06/10/06 @ 6.37, 1190cfs

A huge rock, which creates a rapid that's totally out of character for this reach. It makes a bad pourover hole, especially at higher water levels. (Boofing right of it is the normal line.)
At lower levels, the edge of the hole is a good play spot.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
January 5 2012 (2535 days ago)
Brian KiddDetails
The map display takeout is not right. It is well upstream from this. If you run it this far the
dangerous dam comes into play.
June 10 2011 (2743 days ago)
Robert FarmerDetails
A massive oil and gas waste landfill is planned for the the Big Sandy at the confluence with the
Little Sandy. Check it out, and voice your opposition, please! Go to Send letters to: Preston County Solid
Waste Authority c/o Mr. Fred Taylor 118 Lick Run Rd. Newburg, WV 26410 and also Preston County
Commission 106 W Main Street, Room 202 Kingwood, WV 26537
June 15 2006 (4564 days ago)
Edward E. Sauble, Jr.Details
Ran this section 6\4\06 with the GBCC "beginners class" at 3.5 ft. Plenty of swimmers but
everyone had a blast. Calamity rock was completely covered with a rooster tail coming off it so
most of us walked it except one in a ducky who missed the eddy beforehand. She made it through
fine. Big waves and holes abounded but had excellent leaders so no extreme carnage. Would like to
try again at a lower level.
July 13 2003 (5632 days ago)
From Boygenius on Boatertalk:
Cheat Narrows Hole:(8.5 on the Cheat at Rowlesburg, 2.5 at Albright up to???)
Drove a few hours to the Cheat Narrows. I had received reports for Joe Stumpfel of a good hole on
the Cheat Narrows. I'd never run this section before, and after pulling over 5 or more times to
look at the river, I finally found it! It's a rockin pit-hole in the middle of a HUGE flatwater
eddy in between real rapids. I arrived around 12:00 and played for 2 hours. This hole was
AMAZING!!! It's as wide as Center Chute on the Potomac at 5.2, is a retentive and powerful pit, but
is REALLY deep. Approximately 15' wide of break, fluffy pile recirculates from almost 10 feet back,
steep inflow, lots of push, easy to escape either side, LOTS OF FUN!!! I tried several loops, never
hit bottom, but never got tons of air either...I'm beginning to think that wave/holes give up the
biggest air because the water has a more solid rise behind the seam so the boat corks out of the
water from a much higher point, but I digress...It was possible to throw ends anywhere, but the
surfer's left and middle were most retentive. Entry moves are definately possible: I had fun trying
entry-loops, which usually just resulted in my getting trashed. It's easy to get out of control
here, because the ends go so fast, but every hole move is possible in this perfectly-formed pit
hole. The hole can be a little intimidating if you're not used to big holes. The eddy access is
HUGE. It's well worth a drive. I can only imagine that as it gets higher, it gets even better and
eventually forms a wave, but I don't know. On Friday, the Albright Bridge on the Cheat appeared to
be around 5 1/2 feet right after I played. There was no one else around...I LOVE WV!!!
How to get there:
From Rowlesburg, WV, follow 72 North for approximately 4 miles. The road parallels the river. You
will pass SEVERAL little pull-offs, which could all serve as put-ins, passed the abandoned mine on
the left 1/2 mile or so, begin to look closely at the rapids as you pass them. You will pass a few
class 2 rapids prior to this hole. After one such unnotable clas 2 rapid (with a large, sloping
pour-over on the far river right), you will see a LONG (100 yards +), flat eddy on the river left
and most of the center of the river. This is a CALM, DEEP eddy. The only real current pushes past
the eddy on the river right side of the eddy. In the middle of this current is a big, obvious
pit-hole. You can park right next to it :)

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