This is a great float that is very scenic and remote. We floated this right at the minimum level and slightly below and didn't have any problems. There were a couple of shoals that we had to walk. I would estimate the mileage at 12 miles because the road sign says 11 miles to Beaver Creek. It took us about 5.5 hours to float this section. There is a good trail from the road down beaver creek to the river. It is probably only about 400 feet to the river. There is a large log jam that has to be portaged on the right side of an island about 1/3 of the way down. There are two river-wide man-made boulder "dams" on the river at the cheat mountain club. We were able to run the first with no problem. There isn't many good lines on the second one. The line we took end up having large boulders in the drop which kind of hung us up temporarily.
11 of us ran this from Beaver Creek (plus 3.5 miles below Cheat Bridge) on the WV Week of Rivers, at 550 cfs on the Cheat Bridge gauge. Beaver Creek to Cheat Bridge is about 11 miles; I understand that access is now closed at Spruce. It is basically a beautiful but class I paddle, with only a few spots that might approach class II. The recommended minimum of 6 feet (300 cfs) seems doable, but it would be a very slow trip and bony at spots. On the other hand, there is no obvious reason to set 8 feet (1000 cfs) as a maximum, as there was nothing dangerous or even blind on the trip, and even a low-water loving, open boater like me would have felt comfortable at a considerably higher level. So I would raise that figure to at least 9.5 feet (2000 cfs).
From the Beaver Creek parking area (where the road ends), most carried 300 yards, over the RR tracks, to Shavers Fork, while several of us scraped down Beaver Creek, after checking the culvert under the tracks.
Unfortunately this section of the river is either unaccessible when the river is running due to snow melt (the roads are not maintained and snowbound) or remote enough that it's tough to get to unless you're in the area when it is raining.
That said, it's absolutely one of the most beautiful areas in all of creation. If you do get the chance to run it, make sure to take some time to pause near the Cheat Mountain Club on river right just before the Cheat Bridge takeout. It's an old hunting and fishing lodge built in 1887 which has played host to the likes of Henry Ford, Thomas Eddison, and John Burroughs. The flat water at the CMC is caused by a large boulder dam just down stream of the lodge. I've never been there with levels high enough to run the dam, but it would definitely make for an interesting bit of play.
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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.
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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