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Difficulty II-IV
Length 5.8 Miles
Flow Range 3.00 - 5.20 FT
Flow Rate as of: 20 minutes ago 4.18 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 01/05/2006 8:38 pm

River Description

Rapid Descriptions


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9 years ago

Whoever labeled this thing a class 2 to 4 was obviously on drugs. Or at least the wrong ones. It's a treacherous little thing, if not that horribly difficult. Big Smile Falls [the first class 5] is now gone, whittled from an 8 foot ledge to a big waterslide by the flood in 2004. The bottom ledge is getting worse, however,, as it has eroded back a number of feet from it's orginal shape to be forming the beginnings of a tempermental notch in the bedrock. A fun, short creek run, Lick Creek appears to be continuing to do wierd things geologically speaking, probably as a sequelia from the blasting that built the nearby interstate. Be careful out there 1-22-10 I made the mistake of underestimating this creek last summer during a flood. Not sure of the levels, but i know it was pumpin. We made a short run over the falls, about 400 yards above and took out below. First run was a lot of fun. We ran if river right close to the rocks. Second time ended up stuck in a keeper about 30ft above the fall. After a escaped, I successfully dropped the falls sideways. You need to be on your line for this one. I got sucked back in to the falls and rolled around a couple times. Ended up smimming and lost my paddle. It was a blue Werner by the way. I plan on running this again during the next rainy season. If any locals wanna gohit me up.

Gauge Description


Directions Description

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No Accident Reports



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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.

Matt Muir