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) 01h03m 3.89 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: Verified
Last Updated: 2004-10-23 15:26:19


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.

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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.