Cheat - 2. (Canyon) Albright to Jenkinsburg Bridge

Cheat, West Virginia, US


2. (Canyon) Albright to Jenkinsburg Bridge (Canyon)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 9.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 25 fpm
Max Gradient 40 fpm

Big Nasty at "Beast Level"

Big Nasty at "Beast Level"
Photo by Kurt Williams via Laurel Highland Outfitter's Photographer taken 05/22/04 @ 6000 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03070260 11.00 - 15.00 ft III-IV 00h33m 11.58 ft (running)
Corresponds roughly to 1.0-2.25' at the Bridge. Gauge has been fixed

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.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-05-20 19:18:04


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.5Beech RunIII
2.5Big NastyIVPlayspot Video
3.0Even NastierIII+
5.8Cue BallIII
6.5High FallsIV
6.9Maze (Top)
7.2Pete Morgan - Lower ColiseumIVPhoto
8.0Boulder Line Rapid
8.5Fossil Falls (Mouth of Connor Run)

Rapid Descriptions

Decision (Class III, Mile 0.8)


Photo of Matt Balkey by Matt Muir taken 07/21/01 @ 2.6 ft

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)
Mostly big waves and scattered holes.

Big Nasty (Class IV, Mile 2.5)
Click Here For Video
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.

A classic play hole at many levels.

Even Nastier (Class III+, Mile 3.0)
Multiple paths at various water levels.

Cue Ball (Class III, Mile 5.8)
A popular playspot and lunch spot.

Teardrop (Class III+, Mile 6.2)
Right side of river is the easiest line.

High Falls (Class IV, Mile 6.5)
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.

Coliseum (Class IV+, Mile 7.0)


Photo of Ratt Boy by Dan Lichty (KHCC)

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)

Pete Morgan Rapid

Pete Morgan Rapid
Photo by S Baloch taken 08/17/03 @ 2.0

Last drop is run in the center of the left channel.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 23 2014 (1634 days ago)
Eric HenricksonDetails
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.
November 19 2012 (2216 days ago)
Matt MuirDetails
Jeff Macklin: As of 11-18-12, the lower part of Pete Morgan's rapid has wood between and next to
the the two large rocks that are on the right of the normal line. The wood is parallel with the
flow with short visible branches facing upstream. Water level this day was about 2.5 ft. For an
image go to: ... &k=jFt4C6J
May 5 2012 (2414 days ago)
jtsquid (153497)
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
January 16 2012 (2523 days ago)
WVUwhitewater (153814)
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.
October 26 2011 (2605 days ago)
Justin E AbelDetails
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.
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
May 15 2011 (2770 days ago)
John KobakDetails
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.
May 3 2011 (2782 days ago)
Kurt WilliamsDetails
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 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:
August 3 2009 (3420 days ago)
Jeff PaineDetails
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.
April 9 2009 (3536 days ago)
George RudnitskyDetails
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
June 11 2005 (4933 days ago)
Stephen J. EttingerDetails
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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  • Jenkinsburg River Access Project

    The Jenkinsburg Project is a partnership between a private landowner, two river-oriented non-profits, a state environmental agency, five canoe and kayak clubs, and hundreds of donors from West Virginia and the surrounding states.