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Difficulty III-IV
Length 13 Miles
Flow Range 13.90 - 17.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 54 minutes ago 12.59 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 08/04/2004 10:55 pm

River Description

Logistics: You have a couple options for access on this run. One popular put-in is at the second Hwy 39/55 Bridge across the river. Alternatively you can continue upstream to the Monongahela National Forest North Bend Picnic Area. Beware of strainers that are more prevelant as you continue further upstream. The take-out is at the Richwood School Bridge.

Description: The North Fork Cherry provides consistent action and is a fun run when area rivers are flowing high. As flows increase the eddies begin to disappear and you need to be prepared for strainer hazards so use caution. The run is nearly continuous class III and as you continue downstream there are a couple of class IV rapids. Use caution at a couple of man-made ledges, but you should be able to find a clean line. There is also a dam behind the 4 Seasons Hotel as you approach the take-out. Scout carefully to pick your line and continue through the best class IV rapid on the run just downstream. There is another dam a short distance downstream.

Rapid Descriptions


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Robert Farmer
13 years ago

The upper section of the N. Fork had, when I was there, the biggest, most suddenly-appearing strainer/log jam that I've ever seen---very unsettling. Other than that, this is an excellent 3-4 run, with virtually non-stop action. Watch out for Rudolph Falls, behind the motel. Scout or carry.

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Thomas O'Keefe
15 years ago

As of Sept 2003, there was a nasty strainer on
river left about 2/3 of the way through the run
as you pass under a bridge. The strainer is
composed of some metal debris and logs that
are wedged between a couple boulders
effectively blocking safe passage through the
river right route. It is not immediately obvious
from upstream.

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11 years ago

The Dam mentioned by the 4 seasons is a pretty cool park and can be run lower than the rest of the run and consists of a 4 foot dam into a 15 foot slide. The slide has multiple channels so hike up and do it again...Also this run was too low for a fun run today and the level was 12.9ish, I would only hit this run up at high levels.

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Chris Preperato
6 years ago

We ran this at about 13.5ft on the Craigsville gauge, and I'd say it was a little below minimum. We made it down, but with more scraping than I'd prefer. We put-in just above the first bridge over the river; higher up was too shallow. One river-wide log in the rapids just above the bridge, might be hard to see with more water. After the dam/slide at the lodge, there is a big log jam that was passable on the far right and far left, but it would be dicier with more water pushing at it. The 2nd dam is easily run on the left, right side is classic low-head dam.
A good III+ run at our flows, might push IV with higher water

Gage Descriptions

The best way to tell if the NF is runnable is a visual check of the water level as you drive along Hwy. 39/55.

The Gauley's Craigsville gauge can be used as an indicator of whether or not there might be enough water. Note that this gauge also includes flows coming from several other streams.

The Craigsville gauge conversion table for feet-to-cfs is approximately:
11 feet = 510 cfs
12 feet = 1460 cfs
13 feet = 3200 cfs
14 feet = 5550 cfs
15 feet = 8500 cfs


Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.


No Accident Reports




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Tow Tether Danger Highlighted by Recent Accident

2019-02-25 19:53:07-05
Charlie Walbridge

Nancy Kell, a very experienced Mid-States kayaker, died on February 24th after flipping in a Class II rapid on West Virginia's Red Creek. There were a number of strainers in the vicinity above and below the water. One of them snagged her tow tether, pulled her out of her boat, and held her under water. She was with a very experienced crew but they could not reach her quickly enough. Equipment snags are a real risk. In the light of this accident I strongly urge anyone using a cowtail, pigtail, or tow tether to recheck your setup, and to consider whether wearing a tow tether makes sense. Be certain that your tether releases cleanly at both ends. Do not attach the front carabiner to a non-releasable point, like a pocket or strap. Ms. Kell did this, and it may have been a contributing factor. Apparently many current rescue PFD designs to not feature a front release point! Do not attach a tether to the rear of your PFD with a non-locking carabiner, as that may inadvertently clip into a rope. The tether should fit very snugly, without sagging, but as the photo shows Ms. Kell did that, and it did not protect her! The harness release should be quick and foolproof. Practice harness releases under pressure before using it on the river. Finally, remember that any additional strap is a potential snag hazard. Ask yourself if the usefulness of a tow tether is worth the risk, especially on small, strainer infrested creeks. Carry it in a PFD pocket or dry bag if necessary. Click for a link to the report in the AW Accident Database. (Jeff Macklin Photo)


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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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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.

Charles and Nancy Brabec