You can avoid a bit of flat water by opting to put in about 1 mile above the Wilderness PSD water plant instead of going all the way up to the Route 41 bridge at Nallen. The locals call the mile above the water plant the "Miracle Mile". It is almost continuous class II/III+ rapids with lots of play spots. This section often collects trees and debris so watch out for strainers. It's also a good idea to choose your lines carefully and watch out for undercuts - they are everywhere.
There is a potentially deadly pinning spot (especially a levels below 1000 cfs) in the second major rapid. This rapid can be identified from upstream by a large boulder in the center near the top of the rapid and a house sized boulder on river right at the bottom of the rapid (with numerous trees growning on top). The majority of the water flows to the right of the center rock and over a 3' ledge. Just below the ledge is a flat rock that is barely under water at 650 cfs. This rock creates the pinning situation (or a very sore back caused by boofing onto the flat rock). There is a small slot to the left of the center boulder that is a better line if it is not blocked by strainers and another line around the ledge along the far right side of the river. The photo "Terminal Hole in Miracle Mile" shows the ledge and the flat rock. You can also see the flow around the far side of the center rock (the riover left line). The far right line brings the boater back to the center of the river just above the slanting rock at the front of the raft.
The Miracle Mile is a good section for checking out the boating skills of the group while you still have a chance to easily get off the river. Once you pass the water plant, Route 41 veers away from the river and there is no easy way to take off the river (although an abandonded railroad line runs along river left if you really need to get off).
Whatever you do, make sure you don't miss the takeout under the Route 19 bridge. If you do you will be in for a surprise on the Lower Meadow!
Putin: Route 41 bridge at Nallen or 1 mile above Wilderness PSD water plant
Takeout: Route 19 Bridge
Rt 41 Put-in:
Miracle Mile Take-out:
Rt 19 Take-out:
Hope this helps.
4/26/06 For years, I would look upstream from the lower meadow, or downstream from the upper meadow, and think that that is a section of river that I will never do. But let me tell you, this is a great section of river! It is very beautiful, with numerous large boulders, 50 feet high and up to 100 feet long, vertical and overhanging on all sides, one of which broke and has a 50-foot-high, symmetrical, V-shaped crack; many of these boulders are moss-and-tree covered, making this perhaps the most beautiful section of river in WV (top 4, at least). HOWEVER, while admiring the beauty of these gorgeous boulders, don't get sucked underneath them, because they are all table rocks, with plenty of space underneath to trap errant paddlers and boats!! I just ran it at an estimated 1200 cfs, and I'd give it a Class 5- rating above perhaps 900 cfs, but that's just a guess. There were numerous narrow lines between blind, keeper ledge holes and pushy currents slamming into undercut table rocks, occasionally cluttered with boulders. Reading the river safely and accurately took pretty much all of the skill that I could muster, because it is often quite subtle. This section seems to have more undercuts than even the dreaded lower meadow, excepting the big Class 5's on that section, and that's saying something!
Also, I found that the Class 6-ish rapid discussed below is actually the third rapid in the miracle mile, although I guess it depends on how one defines "major." Anyway, stay alert there; I snuck it on the right, past several disconcerting sieves; at that level, there was no way that I was going to try to scout the left side, and I didn't see anything over there from the bottom that I liked, anyway! A portage would be more prudent.
I scouted twice in the miracle mile, and twice in the section downstream of the last road, after putting on a mile below Nallen. The first and third scouts were difficult, but worth it. The second and fourth were easy, and worth it.
Don't go expecting beautiful, high sandstone cliffs; there is only one that I saw, toward the end, on the right. But this is still much, much better than the flat water paddle that I was for many years led to believe that this was. It may well be fun Class 3-4 at lower levels, but approach with caution, because at 1200 cfs (well below the "maximum" of 2000), I felt fully engaged, and I've got quite a few Class 5's behind me, so I want to caution any Class 3 boaters from jumping on this with too much water.
It is steep enough and fast enough that I never took a paddle stroke downstream---only for control. It is as good as the upper meadow, which is the quintessential fun, Class 4 river at high water, but the upper is much safer than the middle, so you should be solid on the upper or its equivalent before coming here. But definitely put this on your list!
While boating the middle meadow today we had a near terminal pin. In the second main drop of the Miracle Mile you will see a river right, house sized boulder, with numerous trees growning on top (there is a yellow knotted rope on the backside that people climb up from). The rapid consits of a eight foot wide shoot, between a left center boulder and a center right slanting rock, that the majority of the current flows through. A green tongue drops over a 3' ledge and into a moderate foam pile with outflow moving easily down stream. At the level today, 800 cfs, there is no indication of any obstruction in this drop; definitive boil line, roostertail, etc. <br />
When running the chute I went deep into the hole and my bow hit an obstruction and put me into a side surf with the tongue of water pouring on my side. I flipped upstream and was pushed upstream into a depression under the drop. All I could feel was rock to my upstream side and head/back. My paddle lodged between the depression and the downstream rock. I hand rolled up, surfed a bit with my downstream side bashing into the obstruction, flipped again, rolled, flipped, then I pulled the cord. Exiting the boat the cockpit was facing downstream and temporarily trapped one leg between it and the obstruction. Not good for anybody. I swam free but the boat pushed under water and pinned. <br />
Examining the drop as the water level went down throughout the day, the main drop is formed by a three foot ledge that contains an upstream cave. About a foot under water, four feet downstream is an undercut rock, facing upstream, sitting perpindicular to the flow. I believe the shape allows it to act as a sieve. I have never heard of this hazard's presence before and has not been an issue at higher water. Be wary running this chute at levels less than 1000cfs...I feel very lucky to have exited this spot alive.
UPDATE - 3-27-04
Boat and paddle recovered...pics above.
3 years ago
by John O. Mitchell
The USGS gauge is located near the confluence of the Meadow and Gauley (a few miles below the Route 19 bridge that marks the end of the Middle Meadow.
The suggested minimum flow for the Middle Meadow is 500 cfs, although it has been run at lower flows. As the level flow rises, so does the difficulty. The maximum suggested level is 2,000 cfs.
The headwaters of the Meadow River are south of Rainelle. When that area gets rain, it often is not reflected in the USGS gauge at Mt. Lookout until the next day (about 24 hours later). You can find the rainfall amount for the past 24 hours at www.afws.net/data/wv/Greenbrier.htm. Look at the data for the rain gauge Meadow Bluff.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Two Ships, landmarks for hazard
X marks the pin hazard
Routes at the pinning hazard
Middle Meadow - Jason Snead
Middle Meadow - first rapid
Middle Meadow - 03
Middle Meadow - 02
Middle Meadow 01
Attaching the pull rope to the pinned boat
Pinned boat mid pull
Terminal Hole in Miracle Mile
Miracle Mile - Middle Meadow
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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.
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