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Difficulty II-III
Length 21.3 Miles
Flow Range 4.00 - 10.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 49 minutes ago 2.8 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 08/17/2014 4:40 pm

River Description

The first mile of this run to just beyond the confluence of Brush Creek which comes in on river right has the most gradient(40'/mile). It is a 10.9 mile paddle to the Tramway at Pipestem State Park. When the Tram is running one may haul boats and bodies out of the gorge by prior arrangement. Call 304- 466 - 1800 ext. 394 at Pipestem Lodge. They usually start operating sometime in April but it is advisable to call because high winds,mechanical problems, inspections, etc., quite commonly shut down operations. If paddling beyond the Tram there is only one or two rapids and then several miles of class 1 water and then miles of flat water caused by the back up of waters from the Bluestone Dam. Take out may be made at boat launching ramps at Old Mill camping area or Meador Camping area in Bluestone State Park or at the WV 20 bridge at the mouth of the Bluestone River. They are all on river left.
A 10 1/2 mile section of this river is a Scenic River administered by the National Park Service under the National Wild and Scenic River Act

Rapid Descriptions


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Anthony Daniel
2 weeks ago

so three takeout options, tram in park, as noted before call first, and the cost depends upon who is working at the lower lodge gift shop, no real consensus what to charge. There is a public access (nps) at Lilly before the lake (not list here previously or in guidebook) and I have also taken out above the first campground you encounter (at the gate at the end of the road), I consider 800- 1200 cfs the best, still some rocks and ledges but not scrapey.

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Philip Young
1 year ago

Between 5 and 6 feet is a really nice level for the Bluestone- the rapids in the first couple of miles have good surfing/eddy hopping, and there's plenty of flow for the flatter miles to the takeout. Nothing very difficult as no rapid really merits naming, but it's pretty and remote, with a cool takeout at the tram.

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9 years ago

Ran this 3/17/11 at a level of 4.6. There is a boat eating strainer river left, maybe 100yds after Brush fork comes in. It's a forked tree and the fork is only about 1 foot out of the water at this level, one fork submerges (to pin) and the other is exposed and broken (to push you under). A small boulder that forms the rapid above this hazard hides it pretty well for the unsuspecting...... Also, don't get distracted by the beautiful cliffs that are the backdrop for these rapids.

Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description

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article main photo

Cheat Canyon Settlement Reached; Land Set Aside for Endangered Species

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.

Philip Young


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1203610 08/17/14 Philip Young added photos
1192880 08/20/01 n/a n/a