Cherry - Richwood Inn to Gauley River

Cherry, West Virginia, US


Richwood Inn to Gauley River

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 9 Miles
Avg. Gradient 30 fpm
Max Gradient 30 fpm

Ender at Riley's

Ender at Riley's
Photo of Don Beyer by Bob Anderson taken 06/06/04 @ 14 feet

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03189100 11.50 - 17.00 ft II-III 00h34m 13.04 ft (running)

River Description

The Cherry is an excellent novice/intermediate run with many places to practice basic paddling skills (eddy turns, peel outs, ferries, surfing, etc.). Routes 39 runs along the river for the first 3 miles from Richwood Inn to Fenwick. Then Routes 20/55 follow the river down to the confluence with the Gauley. This allows the paddler to choose to run 3, 6, or all 9 miles.

The gradient is fairly constant at about 30 feet/mile, making this almost continuous rock gardens. The rapid just upstream of the Fenwick Bridge signals the point where Laurel Creek adds its volume to what has been coming down the Cherry. Watch out for the hole in the center of this rapid, especially at high water. About two miles downriver from Fenwick the river curves to the right and a long rapid appears. The bottom of this rapid includes a slide into a wave train with a couple of good size waves. The river left eddy at the bottom of the slide provides an easy way to get onto the waves. The second wave has a little curler on the river right side that can flip the unwary paddler.

About 3/4 mile below the Holcomb bridge (where Route 20/55 crosses the Cherry) is series of rapids ending with the last major rapid before Rhododendron Park. At high water the unsuspecting paddler can encounter a couple of good sized holes at the bottom/center of this rapid.

The action continues below the park and all the way to the takeout. Hopefully you still have enough energy to enjoy these last 3 miles.

Putin: River right across from the Richwood Inn

Takeout: Curtin Bridge (Route 20) at the confluence of the Cherry and Gauley Rivers

Alternate putin/takeout points: Fenwick (3 miles) and Rhododendron Park on Rt. 20/55 (6 miles)

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2014-11-10 21:47:10


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 17 2018 (92 days ago)
amsterdamzero (152223)
Can someone change the gauge for this stretch to the Laurel Creek of the Cherry gauge? The top
gauley gauge currently being used it about as inaccurate as it gets. The gauley falls much slower
(as it has 4 rivers feeding it above the gauge) than the Cherry. The gauge on Laurel creek is a
much better guess for water actually being in the cherry. I would guess about 150 cfs in the Laurel
would mean the Cherry is about 1' on the painted gauge at Fenwick. The upper limit could probably
be set to about 1000 or so on the Laurel gauge. I mainly say this as some folks come from pretty
far away and think the Cherry is running when it is not at all. The best data to use is the closest
data. Thanks
July 29 2017 (507 days ago)
Brian JonesDetails
Great river, ran it at 12' today (roughly zero on Fenwick gauge) with beginners in kayaks, perfect
class 2-3. I'll be back but will hope for more water next time. Didn't look like enough water at
"Richwood Inn" (old condemned building on river left?) so we drove down to the next bridge in
Fenwick, put in river right next to post office. Have fun!
September 10 2011 (2656 days ago)
Charles and Nancy BrabecDetails
The two trees at the bottom of "the islands" (about 1.3 miles above the confluence of the Cherry
and Gauley) were partially removed on August 21st. It is still a good idea to scout the area from
the pull-out along Route 20 when running your shuttle. See the photos section for before and after
photos (taken when the USGS gauge was about 50 cfs). We paddled this section on 9/7/11 and the
trees were easily avoidable. The level was 1 foot on the paddlers gauge at Fenwick.
May 26 2008 (3859 days ago)
x (1)
Three of us paddled this section at 12 ft from the Holcomb bridge to the Gauley. This was a fun
section of almost continuous class II/II+ rapids. Great section of river for practicing river
running skills and there were numerous small waves and holes for surfing. Fun section for the
intermediate paddler, a challenging section novice.

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