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Difficulty II-III+
Length 4.1 Miles
Flow Range 12.80 - 14.20 FT
Flow Rate as of: 40 minutes ago 13.02 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 09/22/2004 4:05 pm

River Description

The steepest mile is near the end and includes "Dreaded Drop" a irregular 8-10 slide. At higher water levels this drop can develop nasty hydraulics.
At higher water levels take caution approaching the take-out since a culvert bridge is immediately downstream and likes to collect debris.

Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.

Rapid Descriptions


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Brent Samples
6 years ago

paddled both sections 11/3. the first mile is chocked full of wood. the stream opens up after this and is clear through Dreaded Drop. Be alert of both islands in the first mile as well as for any trees that could move. T

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10 years ago

The minimum for this run is top of the low water bridge at Mossy. Once you get off the interstate turn left as you cross the bridge. The low water bridge is about 1/2 mile down right beside the road. If the bridge is a hydraulic then you have really high water. This section has nice sloping ledges and plenty of rapids. At the culverts get out on the right about 20 yards upstream. The culverts are usually clogged. The next section downstream is a bit harder and more technical. But most of it can be scouted from the road while running shuttle. Heath Damron

Summary of Gauge Readings

The USGS on-line gage for this reach is on the Clear Fork of Big Coal River which is the next drainage due west of Paint Creek thus it can be only used as an indicator.
Check out the low water bridge downstream of Mossy across from the Fairview Church on CR 15. If the water is within 6" of the upstream top edge there is enough water.

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
AW Gauge Info
13.02 ft 00h40m n/a

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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Tow Tether Danger Highlighted by Recent Accident

2019-02-25 19:53:07-05
Charlie Walbridge

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)


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

2018-09-04 07:58:00-04
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)

2018-08-21 10:07:00-04
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

2007-02-13 00:00:00-05
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.

Matt Muir