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Difficulty I-II(III)
Length 16 Miles
Flow Range 2.50 - 5.50 FT
Flow Rate as of: 25 minutes ago 2.29 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 02/27/2018 6:49 pm

River Description

Most of the rapids are straightforward gentle drops over gravel and cobble bars. The most vigorous drop is called Landslide (III-) and is usually run right or right of center. The rapid was formed when part of the canyon wall on river left fell into the river. The old scar is visible high on the mountain for a considerable distance upstream.

It is a beautiful river, with steep canyons walls, usually remarkably clear water, great vistas, and fun shoals and riffles. It is often done as an overnight trip When there's enough water, this section is suitable for canoers and beginning kayakers who have competent eddy turns in their bag of tricks.

The remains of the old Royal Glen Dam is below the confluence of the North Fork. It is easily runnable in breaches far left (easiest) and center.

The earliest take-out is shortly below here on river left and is accessible from WV 28/55 (turn-off near state road maintenance garage) via River Road (CR 28/1).

Below here there is also a public boat ramp site on river right accessible from US 220 via CR 220/2.

Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.

Rapid Descriptions


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Dustin Hooks
11 months ago

This section is a great open boat run. The rapids require some maneuvering but are straightforward. At 3.5' @ the Franklin gauge, the only area we came close to swamping our loaded tandem canoe (no bags) was at the Royal Glen dam. Run this to the left and then ferry over to the left bank to dump and you'll be fine.

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7 years ago

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10 years ago

Robert Farmer---When I said I paddled it at 3.5, that was at Franklin. The Petersburg gauge is not really appropriate for this section.

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Andy Dick
13 years ago

A good Petersburg take-out is about 100 yards downstream of the US 220 Bridge, on river left, at a Sanctioned WVDNR Access Site. There is no overnight parking, park in the City Park parking lot (west side of 220, before crossing the bridge, adjacent to the DNR Access Drive). Caution, upstream from the US 220 bridge is a class II+ to III- (depending on water level) approx. 150 yard long rapid, Haystacks, consisting of several river wide ledges with hydraulics. At higher water levels, the waves here can easily swamp an unbagged, open canoe.

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Bruce Fleckenstein
14 years ago

Something happened to the gauge at Petersburg. It is reading much higher than it used to. I'm guessing about 2 foot. Does anyone know what changed?

Gage Descriptions

The North Fork joins the South Branch above the old Royal Glen Dam so it would be a good idea to check either the Cabins gauge on the North Fork or the Petersburg gauge.

Appropriate Petersburg gauge levels

Min 3.0 Max 6.0; NWS flood stage 10.0

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




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Gauley Fest - September 13-16, 2018 - Summersville, WV

Mark Singleton

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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2018 Letter To Gauley Boaters From The NPS (WV)

Mark Singleton

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.

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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.

zeth zajac


Tony Allred Jr


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193118 12/23/04 zeth zajac n/a
1209008 02/27/18 Tony Allred Jr 3-28-2018 - broke flows into low runnable/runnable/high runnable