New - 15. New River Dries: Hawks Nest Dam to Gauley Bridge

New, West Virginia, US


15. New River Dries: Hawks Nest Dam to Gauley Bridge

Usual Difficulty III-IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 18 fpm

Drys put-in wave

Drys put-in wave
Photo by Brian Rahall taken 11.22.03 @ 17.4 feet - huge

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-380649081083301 1.00 - 10.50 ft III-IV(V) 00h43m 9.85 ft (running)

River Description

The Dries is a surfers paradise although at high waterlevels you will have to catch some of the waves on the fly. About 2/3 of the way down the river you will find a long class III+ rapid that ends in a big pool. At the bottom of the pool are several huge boulders. This is Landslide rapid. There are 5-6 slots between the boulders. The cleanest slots are the 2nd and 3rd from the right. The leftmost slots have a potential for pinning and should be avoided.

Putin: Just above or below the Cotton Hill bridge on Rt. 16.

Takeout: Along Rts. 16 & 60 above Gauley Bridge. Perhaps the best spot to take out is on river right by the bigs rocks just below the railroad bridge. There is a short path from the top of the rocks to the road with parking for a few cars. There is additional parking a bit upstream and across the road by a nice waterfall.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-07-13 13:03:51


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put In Waves aka Cotton Hill Bridge RapidIVPlayspot
0.2Big Kahuna WavesIII+
1.0Mile LongIV
3.8Train WreckIII

Rapid Descriptions

Put In Waves aka Cotton Hill Bridge Rapid (Class IV)
Non existent at low water, Class 5 at huge flows.

Big Kahuna Waves (Class III+, Mile 0.2)
A series of 3 to 5 big wide waves depending on water level. Epic playspot

Mile Long (Class IV, Mile 1.0)
Big long rapid with a really big hole at the bottom.

Landslide (Class IV, Mile 2.5)
Avoid the river left channel, it houses a keeper hole.

Train Wreck (Class III, Mile 3.8)
The rapid under the railroad trestle.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 13 2018 (68 days ago)
nprete (157563)
FYI gauge is wrong for rafts, 10' is small, 12' is medium, 14'+ is getting burly.
September 13 2016 (798 days ago)
tonydaniel (158575)
low flow dries gauge info 5 ft is a good level for a low flow run, 4 ft is too low- it requires
walking or wading your boat in a couple of places low flow runs are considered class III with class
IV consequences because some of the slots are blind and some undercuts are in play.
August 9 2016 (833 days ago)
Paul LangeDetails
We paddled the Dries last weekend at lower flows. The approach to Landslide rapid has changed some
with some shoals appearing on the river right above the slots river left. Beware of the wood and
some shifting of rocks in the three far left slots.
June 11 2015 (1258 days ago)
Paul LangeDetails
FYI, the gauge reading here on AW is incorrect. A 3.85 level means there is no water in the dries
and should be considered paddling zero. Anything above that indicates there is water flowing in the
June 22 2009 (3438 days ago)
x (1)
Just to let everyone know when the dries are 9 ft there is a hole on river left below the put in
that is loopable and can def throw ends. Little sticky but hey thats half the fun.
November 26 2003 (5473 days ago)
Well, once again, Almost Heaven "Wet Virginia" was the place to be this past weekend, as
myself and the usual suspects had an awesome time surfing the New River Dries.

I love living 10 mins away from the dries ....and the parking lot at the waves has a feeling about
it....sort of what I imagine the parking lot for "pipeline" is to surfers. Everyone is
just so amped to be paddling the best whitewater in the US, and we love sharing it with each other.
So much so that, Scott Lindgren and Tanya Shuman flew in from Cali when they heard the waves would
be in for a few days. So, myself, Clay Wright, Shane Groves, Bryan Kirk, Jimmy Blakeney, Chris
Gratgmans, Little Dave, BJ & Katie Johnson, Tanya Shuman, Anna Levesque, and a few others had a
great time surfin it up, and shooting some film....
The usual waves that show up on river right at about 40-55,000 cfs were the bomb as usual, but we
were also able to surf a huge, building and crashing 15-20' 'er in the middle of the river. This
thing was abso-friggin-lutely HUGE, and so were some of the moves being thrown. Big pan-ams,
flipturns and helixes were the main course on the endless freestyle menu, and lots of footy was
shot. Look for updates soon on (Jimmy Blakeney's site) as well for some of the
best shots on Scott Lindgren's new flick "Burning Time".
If you haven't had the chance to surf some huge waves, the dries is where it's at. Look for levels
for the New at Thurmond to be 28,000 cfs-38,000 cfs for the wide middle wave, 40,000-60,000 for the
waves on river right.
Also, the Bigwheel was incredible! So smooth, and FAST! Definatly my favorite boat, and Shane has
already been making it better from what I hear!
It's late, and I'm goin surfin in the AM, so until the next report.....

Brian J

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Associated Projects

  • New River Dries (WV)
    The Hawks Nest Dam de-waters six miles of the New River most of the time, and the relicensing of the dam began in 2012.