Lost - 2. WV 55 Bridge 3.7 miles above Wardensville to WV 259 Bridge below Wardensville

Lost, West Virginia, US


2. WV 55 Bridge 3.7 miles above Wardensville to WV 259 Bridge below Wardensville (Dry Gorge)

Usual Difficulty II-III(IV) (varies with level)
Length 6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 40 fpm
Max Gradient 40 fpm


Photo of Rick Koller (BRV) by Bob Maxey (BRV) taken 05/18/02

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Lost River, WV Dry Gorge
virtual-230541 370 - 1450 cfs III-IV 00h40m 1117.5 cfs (running)
Flow range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report
usgs-01632000 570 - 2600 cfs II-III(IV) 00h38m 2190 cfs (running)
usgs-01607500 355 - 1500 cfs II-III(IV) 00h53m 1090 cfs (running)
Flow range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

River Description

The Lost River Dry Gorge is up only in the winter, spring or after a prolonged wet period. Much of the river literally "sinks" above the gorge, only to reemerge on the other side of the mountain from large springs. Because of this, the riverbed is mostly dry much of the year. A large bridge for the Corridor H project has been built just downstream of the putin bridge, and a long stretch of parking  was added along the edge of route 55 .

The first few miles are characterized by closely-spaced Class II-III rapids. Strainers can be a problem. There is a low-water bridge 2/3 of the way through that should be scouted. At favorable levels, one can run hard right or line up with the jet currents flushing through culverts under the bridge to ride the flow out of the hydraulic. Portage and scout on the right.

Landslide is the final and major rapid on the run (Class IV due to undercut rock on the right, part way through the drop) and should be scouted from the river left island. The rapid is a steep chute featuring offset holes, squirrely current and that undercut. Run center left working right to avoid a large boulder at the bottom center. The channel remains choked below, so swimming can be a bruiser.

Portage a second low-water bridge on the right and proceed to the takeout below Wardensville.

Robert Farmer shared on 2007-03-03:

There is a popular takeout at the upstream end of Wardenville, but it's hard to find. A county road that turns at mailbox 26905 appears to be a driveway. It leads to a low bridge and a cornfield by the river.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-06-14 19:50:36


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.
May 22 2018 (243 days ago)
richman (154231)
Paddled 5/21/18. Log at Landslide is gone everything was runnable. Visual guage was 2'. Correlation
with Cootes store not very accurate this time.
March 30 2018 (296 days ago)
TonyAllred (3101)
This comment is from Alf Cooley: 1) the log across the bottom of "Triple Drop/Ledges" is gone 2) a
new log extends 3/4 the way across the run-out of "Landslide", raising the difficulty
March 30 2018 (296 days ago)
boater3 (157947)
The lower part of Landslide Rapid is very dangerous. There is a log extending 3/4 of the way across
the river forcing the paddler to go to far river right. (See photo.) One eddy can easily be caught,
but the course down the right side is very rocky pushing the paddler into more rocks. There may be
a submerged log on the river right in this channel adding to the difficulty. Paddling through the
meat of the rapid is the easy part.
June 9 2016 (955 days ago)
Philip YoungDetails
We ran this at minimum flow, 0" at the put-in bridge, 3.1 Brandywine and 3.5 Great Cacapon.
Enjoyable class II run, with maybe one easy III, without scraping too much, although there are a
number of long pools. Our run was just a few days after the comment below; you can see a member of
our group ducking under the strainer in the photos. Certainly a concern if the water is higher.
May 8 2016 (987 days ago)
mccloud (155404)
On the Lost 8 May @ 1 foot on the rt55 bridge gage. About 1.5 miles into the trip you enter a long
rocky rapid that curves left. Not until you are well down into it can you see a log pinned between
boulders at chest height, blocking ALL of the main channel. There is a small slot on extreme right
that can be got thru. So long as this log remains, it presents a high hazard. Tom McCloud
March 13 2011 (2870 days ago)
Michelle WhiteDetails
Paddled this on 12Mar2011 at 3.78ft (994cfs) on the Po-Brandywine gauge. Most rocks were covered,
most of the rapids were bouncy wave trains with holes & pourovers interspersed for fun, some ledges
here and there to mix it up. There were a few strainers lurking, and at this levels some midstream
submerged trees. Most rapids were class II+/III at this level, until the rapid with the undercut
(that runs on the right of an island). The undercut is definitely one to respect, a few of us ran
the rapid without incidence, and a few of us portaged without incidence. This stream is definitely
worth catching when it's up!
March 16 2010 (3232 days ago)
Jared EspleyDetails
We ran this section on 13Mar10. SF SB of the Potomac @ Brandywine gauge was at 5.6-5.96 Ft. Painted
bridge gauge at 259/55 put-in read 6 Ft. High water from very large snowmelt and subsequent rain.
Most rapids did not have visible rocks but rather large wave trains and rebounding waves off the
banks -- the river was bankful. The first big rapid ("Ledges" by the AW page) looked quite
difficult but a straight run down the main tongue got all through without incidence. The second big
rapid ("Landslide") had huge waves and moderately sticky hydraulics; it was best run on center
right. Three of us did not run the best line and got flipped bow to stern by the top giant
wave/hole. One party member got sucked back in, flushed, and swam after several failed rolls in
highly turbulent water. Another also swam after failing rolls in the midst of the rapid. All gear
and people were recovered without major incidents. A huge log blocked the river about 3/4 down but
we all passed over it as from upstream it just looked like a big wave; from downstream it was just
above the water level. The low water bridges were all passable without portaging due to the immense
amount of water flowing over them. Very fun overall but definitely class IV.