The Middle Gauley is a good place for aspiring Lower and Upper Gauley boaters to get their feet (and maybe their heads) wet. This section includes several class III/III+ rapids and a few that are even class IV. The more notable rapids are Wood's Ferry, Ender Waves (just below Wood's Ferry) and Backender. If you use the river left putin and takeout you will miss all of the major rapids above Ender Wave but you get to add Koontz Flume, Canyon Doors, and Junkyard. (See the photos section of the Lower Gauley for some nice photos of Koontz' Flume and Canyon Doors).
Scheduled releases occur on weekends beginning the Friday following Labor Day and normally run for 6 consecutive weekends. See http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/wwsched.html for the detailed schedule. However, the Middle Gauley is runnnable almost any time of the year - and it it much easier to access the river "off-season".
Click here for information about the Lower Gauley, and for the Upper Gauley.
Woods Ferry road work keeps Gauley season on track.
We have had releases on this reach but don't show any currently. This information is
gathered by the public. If you know about releases then contact us about them. If
you would volunteer to enter the releases, then reach out to us.
The flow reported here is from the virtual gauge for the Gauley below the Meadow. This gauge is the sum of the current flow from Summersville Dam and the current flow from the Meadow River. It does not include the flow coming from any other creeks below Summersville Dam.
You can also view the USGS Gauge at Belva to get another view of the flow below the Lower Gauley.
Permits are not required for this reach.
River right putin: The takeout for the Upper Gauley at Mason Branch
River right takeout: Bucklick Branch (Take Peters Creek Rd. off Rt. 39 at Lockwood)
River left putin: Off Sunday Road and down Wood's Ferry Road
River left takeout: Off Saturday Road and down Koontz Bend Road to the camp area just below Junkyard
Panther Mountain Road (CR 22) makes a loop from Route 129, evenutally ending up being called Peters Creek Road (still CR 22) and coming out on Route 39 near Lockwood. CR 22 is a state owned and maintained road and it is always open to the public.
The road to Mason Branch (the putin) is owned by the NPS and traffic on it may be restricted during Gauley season. The road down to Bucklick Branch is privately owned and may also be closed during Gauley season.
There is a field on CR 22 near the top of Panther Mountain that is leased by American Whitewater during Gauley season to provide a parking area primarily for people paddling the Upper Gauley. When you finish running the Upper Gauley you have to hike up the Panther Mountain Trail to the field. On release days during Gauley season, the NPS has been providing a boat shuttle between the river and the parking area in the field.
Access to the river at Bucklick during Gauley season is unknown at this time.
Woods Ferry access
Parking at Woods Ferry access
Woods Ferry from the water
Surfing at Perfect Wave
With friends like these who needs eddies take 2
With firend like these who needs eddies take 1
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Gauley Fest is coming up September 17th - 19th and it's time for vendors to send in their registration forms.
The National Park Service shares an open letter to boaters regarding what to expect this season on the Gauley River (WV) including the recent acquisition of a parcel of land at upper Swiss that provides a public take-out on the lower Gauley.
The rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area have provided the boating community with a letter outlining what's in store for this year's Gauley season. As in previous years and to help with boater parking at Mason’s Branch, American Whitewater has leased the Legg field for additional space.
Gauley Fest is the world's biggest paddling festival and American Whitewater's biggest fundraiser - but we need your help! Please sign up to volunteer and become a part of the Gauley Fest Volunteer Team! It's a fun and easy way for you to be a critical part of an amazing festival.
The rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area share an open letter to boaters regarding what to expect this season on the Gauley River (WV).
Gauley season is just around the corner and in preparation for fall releases American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area informing boaters of planning efforts for this season.
American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. The letter outlines important river information for upcoming fall releases.
Earlier this summer West Virginia was hit hard with massive flooding. Both the Gauley River and Meadow River watersheds were flooded by heavy rains. The Gauley River set a flow record and Summersville Lake recorded the second highest lake level in its history. Downstream, nearly every boat launch and take-out was damaged to some degree. Despite the flooding, the put-ins and take-outs at the Tailwaters, Mason’s Branch, Wood’s Ferry, and upper Swiss will all be open for Gauley season. Read an open letter to Gauley boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area.
Nancy Kell, a very experienced Mid-States kayaker, died on February 24th after flipping in a Class II rapid on West Virginia's Red Creek. There were a number of strainers in the vicinity above and below the water. One of them snagged her tow tether, pulled her out of her boat, and held her under water. She was with a very experienced crew but they could not reach her quickly enough. Equipment snags are a real risk. In the light of this accident I strongly urge anyone using a cowtail, pigtail, or tow tether to recheck your setup, and to consider whether wearing a tow tether makes sense. Be certain that your tether releases cleanly at both ends. Do not attach the front carabiner to a non-releasable point, like a pocket or strap. Ms. Kell did this, and it may have been a contributing factor. Apparently many current rescue PFD designs to not feature a front release point! Do not attach a tether to the rear of your PFD with a non-locking carabiner, as that may inadvertently clip into a rope. The tether should fit very snugly, without sagging, but as the photo shows Ms. Kell did that, and it did not protect her! The harness release should be quick and foolproof. Practice harness releases under pressure before using it on the river. Finally, remember that any additional strap is a potential snag hazard. Ask yourself if the usefulness of a tow tether is worth the risk, especially on small, strainer infrested creeks. Carry it in a PFD pocket or dry bag if necessary. Click for a link to the report in the AW Accident Database. (Jeff Macklin Photo)
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.
American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. This letter will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River. Enjoy your paddling season on this classic whitewater river. As in past years, American Whitewater has leased the field above Masons Branch, also known as the Legg field, for overflow parking.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!