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Difficulty III-IV
Length 9.5 Miles
Gauge CHEAT RIVER AT ALBRIGHT, WV
Flow Range 11 - 15 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 18.14 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 05/20/2016 7:18 pm

River Description


The Cheat is a local favorite, with 10 miles of wilderness paddling, impressive rock formations, and more than a handful of III-IV rapids with great play at many levels.

Every year, on the Friday of Cheat Fest (the first weekend in May), this river is host to the "Cheat River Mass-Occurrence," a truly legendary race. With a mass start of as many as 150 paddlers, this race begins with chaos and ends with a phenomenal party.

 

Put-in - 1 mi north of Albright. From Interstate 68, head South on Route 26. After about ten miles, take a sharp Right into Teter's Campground. Drive through Teter's campground to land owned by Friends of the Cheat. This is an AW paddlers' easement. Or you can put in at the bridge on Rte. 26 (where the paddlers' gauge is located) at Albright.

Take-out - Jenkinsburg Bridge, at the confluence of the Cheat and Big Sandy. Look for the turn-off to Hudson Road (WV 15), about 6 miles South of I-68; take it west for about 7 miles to Jenkinsburg. 

 

Charlie Walbridge adds:

Mountain Streams and Trails, the new owner of the Jenkinsburg Access, asks that private paddlers running the Cheat and Big Sandy use the Upper Parking Lot during Cheat Fest Weekend. The Lower Parking Lot should be kept clear for outfitter trucks and buses. Vehicles parked there make maneuvering these big rigs difficult or impossible. So please park where you're supposed to and give a big THANK YOU to any MS&T employees you see on--or off--the river.

 

Gorp description of river

Map of Area

Canyon Topo Map showing rapids

Keel Hauler Rating - 26

Take-out - On river right side just below Jenkinsburg bridge.

Lat/Longitude coords verified by GPS.

Rapid Descriptions

Decision

Class - III Mile - 0.8

This first rapid is a series of offset holes. If you have much trouble here, you can make the Decision to hike back upstream to the putin.

Beech Run

Class - III Mile - 1.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Mostly big waves and scattered holes.

Big Nasty

Class - IV Mile - 2.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Run just right of the holes on the left side. Cut HARD left to miss the big hole in center at bottom of rapid. Below 2.5 on the bridge gauge it becomes a good rodeo hole.

Typewriter

Class - Mile - 2.65
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
A classic play hole at many levels.

Even Nastier

Class - III+ Mile - 3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Multiple paths at various water levels.

Cue Ball

Class - III Mile - 5.81
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
A popular playspot and lunch spot.

Teardrop

Class - III+ Mile - 6.2
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Right side of river is the easiest line.

High Falls

Class - IV Mile - 6.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Can be scouted from river left. Best line is left of center heading left through large waves and holes. Named for Falls coming into river on left side.

Maze (Top)

Class - Mile - 6.9
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Coliseum

Class - IV+ Mile - 7
Run is on left side side of river where you will encounter a almost channel-wide hole (Recyclotron), playable a very low flows. Run just left of the hole and cut back toward center left to avoid Particle Accelerator, the hole in the second drop. All can be scouted from the right side.

Pete Morgan - Lower Coliseum

Class - IV Mile - 7.2
Last drop is run in the center of the left channel.

Boulder Line Rapid

Class - Mile - 8.02
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Fossil Falls (Mouth of Connor Run)

Class - Mile - 8.53
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Comments

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Stephen J. Ettinger
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13 years ago

We just ran the Cheat Canyon at 1.2 on the bridge (0.6 on the on-line gauge), and it was delightful, with clean lines, no scraping and lots of play, even though it was slightly below minimum according to this site. It was also quite runnable when I did it at 1.0 a few years ago. Perhaps the minimum level should be adjusted downwards.

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WVU Whitewater Club
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7 years ago

Sadly, Glenn is no longer able to run shuttle. You are on your own. It's not too bad if you have a reasonably high-clearance vehicle.

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Eric Henrickson
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4 years ago

The bottom of maze rapid (between high falls and coliseum ) has a large log blocking the entire right part of the exit. It is hard to see from above and has a sketchy very small exit on the left. This is a very dangerous hazard.

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Justin E Abel
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7 years ago

Ran it on 10/8 at 2.5 ft on the paddlers gauge. Gorgeous and exciting run, lots of good play. I would recommend this to everyone. But the shuttle is no joke. I wouldn't go down there again without 4 wheel drive or expect to do serious damage to your suspension (oil pan too if your car is small!). Some other paddlers had shuttle set up via 4 wheelers, they were smart. Does anyone have an updated phone number to reach Glenn Miller for shuttle service? The number on the main page has been disconnected.

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George Rudnitsky
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9 years ago

I came on 4/1/09, the Albright gauge shows 0.5 when the real level was up-to 8'. The Albright Gauge is wrong, don't use it, use the Parsons Gauge instead. By looking at the flow of the Parsons Gauge you can estimate the Albright Bridge Level: Albright Bridge Level = 1.0 foot at ~ 1000 cfs Albright Bridge Level = 3.0 feet at ~ 3100cfs Albright Bridge Level = 5.0 feet at ~ 6000 cfs Albright Bridge Level = 8.0 feet at ~ 11000 cfs

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Jeff Paine
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9 years ago

Pinned Pyranha Burn in Pete Morgans Rapid in the center right channel. Two hours spent by Louisville Viking Club, Hoosier Canoe Club, and local river guides trying to extract it. If it is still there or if you find a yellow/orange Medium Burn on the Cheat or Cheat Lake please contact Monica at 574-229-3145. The boat has been found and returned. Thank you to all of those involved in the retrieval.

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Joe Schultze
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6 years ago

During the cheat race (2012) I used a raft paddle after I lost my kayak paddle. If you are the guy that loaned your paddle, and you have not gotten it back, then please send me an email. Thanks, Joe Schultze mulgaton@gmail.com

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Kurt Williams
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7 years ago

Updated 5/3/2011 2:15pm: Parsons' Gauge link is fixed. Thanks to the quick action of John Kobal (AW's Streamteam river editor) the link to the Parsons' Gauge has been corrected. Thanks John. Kurt Good Morning, I apologize if my information is misleading, so please correct me if I am wrong about this. Thank you. Kurt In the "Flow" tab is the following: "Another gauge of interest is Parsons, but it's farther upstream, allow 18 hrs for Parsons flow to reach Albright." This link to Parsons goes to the http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Gauge_detail_id_1327_ which shows as USGS Station 03070260 which I believe is the Albright Gauge and not the Parsons Gauge. Here's the link to Parsons Gauge on the USGS website: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?03069500

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John Kobak
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7 years ago

The USGS gauge has been moved from the Albright Power Station to SR26 bridge. Therefore, the only conversion required is to subtract 10' from its reading to get the painted bridge gauge reading. I would appreciate if paddlers could verify this in the next few weeks. Also USGS has promised to eventually add CFS data to the link.

Summary of Gauge Readings

Paddlers generally go by the painted gauge on the bridge in Albright.

Cheat Albright PS Gauge
Albright Bridge = (Albright USGS) - 10.0'

Bridge Level Calculator

Low 1.25' bridge, High 5' bridge

Power Bridge Gauge is now working again but has been moved to the SR26 bridge. Another gauge of interest is Parsons, but it's farther upstream, allow 18 hrs for Parsons flow to reach .A graph showing Albright Bridge Vs Rowlesburg Flow is linked here. However it looks like the USGS has shutdown this gauge.

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
CHEAT RIVER AT ALBRIGHT, WV
AW Gauge Info
18.14 ft ℹ️ 01h08m Gauge has been fixed
;

Directions Description


Put-in - 1 mi north of Albright. From Interstate 68, head South on Route 26. After about ten miles, take a sharp Right into Teter's Campground. Drive through Teter's campground to land owned by Friends of the Cheat. This is an AW paddlers' easement. Or you can put in at the bridge at Albright.

Take-out - Jenkinsburg Bridge, at the confluence of the Cheat and Big Sandy. Look for the turn-off to Hudson Road (WV 15), about 6 miles South of I-68; take it west for about 7 miles to Jenkinsburg. 

Charlie Walbridge adds:

Mountain Streams and Trails, the new owner of the Jenkinsburg Access, asks that private paddlers running the Cheat and Big Sandy use the Upper Parking Lot during Cheat Fest Weekend. The Lower Parking Lot should be kept clear for outfitter trucks and buses. Vehicles parked there make maneuvering these big rigs difficult or impossible. So please park where you're supposed to and give a big THANK YOU to any MS&T employees you see on--or off--the river.

 

;
Date Flow Result Factor  
2017-12-03 Low Near Miss/Rescue Cold Water Read More
2014-04-13 n/a Near Miss/Rescue Inexperience Read More
2010-03-22 High Fatality High Water Read More
2008-05-17 High Fatality Other Read More
2005-11-03 Medium Fatality Failed Rescue Read More
2004-05-22 High Fatality Inexperience Read More
2000-07-04 Medium Injury Other Read More
1998-05-24 Medium Injury Other Read More
1992-05-16 High Fatality High Water Read More
1989-04-22 Medium Fatality Cold Water Read More

Alerts

   

News

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Cheat Canyon Stewardship Work Continues

2006-10-19 00:00:00-04
Charles Walbridge

Thanks to support from paddlers and organizations in Northern West Virginia Cheat Canyon stewardship work in Rockville and Jenkinsburg continues. There's a new, bombproof gate at the Jenkisburg takeout and West Virginia University students provided the muscle for cleanup efforts at both sites. Read on to learn more and find out how you can help.
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Cheat Canyon Settlement Reached; Land Set Aside for Endangered Species

2007-02-13 00:00:00-05
Charles Walbridge

After two years of intense negotiations an agreement reached to protect endangered species in the Cheat River Canyon. Allegheny Wood Products acquired roughly 5,000 acres in the Cheat Canyon below Albright, WV in 2003 for $9.75 million. When they began building roads and cutting trees the following year the government took no steps to enforce the Endangered Species Act. A lawsuit was filed in 2005 by Friends of Blackwater Canyon, the WV Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Cheat Lake Environmental and Recreational Association. Although American Whitewater was not a party to the litigation we are gratified that an agreement was reached and commend both parties for their efforts.
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Breaking News: Cheat River Canyon Purchased and Protected!

2014-04-11 13:21:00-04
Kevin Colburn

Thanks to the tireless work of The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund over 3,800 acres of the Cheat River Canyon were recently protected. The acquisition covers a 7 mile stretch of the Cheat River between Albright and the high bridge at Jenkinsburg, the famous “Cheat Canyon” whitewater run.  Great news for the Cheat!

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OUTFITTERS, PADDLERS ENSURE CHEAT ACCESS

2005-07-27 00:00:00-04
Charles Walbridge

Dave Hough, managing partner of Mountain Streams & Trails, has signed an agreement with non-commercial whitewater enthusiasts to allow continued use of the popular access to the Cheat and Big Sandy River at Jenkinsburg, WV. The deal followed a successful fundraising effort by canoeists, kayakers and rafters who raised $15,000 to finance much-needed repairs and improvements to the area. American Whitewater worked closely with Friends of the Cheat, a local watershed group well known to the paddling community. They took the lead in fundraising and obtained a matching grant from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The project is going out to bid, and construction will proceed in the next 60 days.
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Gauley Fest - September 13-16, 2018 - Summersville, WV

2018-09-04 07:58:00-04
Mark Singleton

Get your groove on baby! This year Gauley Fest is a 60’s themed event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. To memorialize that historic event we are flashing back to another era for a 60’s throwdown. Started in 1983 to celebrate the derailment of a hydro-electric project that would have disrupted the flows on the Gauley River, Gauley Fest has grown to become the largest paddling festival in the world.

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2018 Letter To Gauley Boaters From The NPS (WV)

2018-08-21 10:07:00-04
Mark Singleton

American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. This letter will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River. Enjoy your paddling season on this classic whitewater river. As in past years, American Whitewater has leased the field above Masons Branch, also known as the Legg field, for overflow parking.

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John Kobak