Adventures on the Gorge Readies for World’s Best Whitewater

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My son was blessed recently with the opportunity to White River Raft on Adventures on the Gorge.  It is an experience he will never forget and that left him with an adrenaline rush.  He and his friends were nervous at first and then with all the excitement forgot their fears and had a ball.



Early on the morning on Sept. 11, Adventures on the Gorge (AOTG) rafters will put in the Gauley River at the Summersville Dam knowing that they will be experiencing the best whitewater in the world. How can they be so sure? Because on that day – and on 21 other weekend days throughout the fall – the Army Corps of Engineers will release water from West Virginia’s Summersville Lake, and the torrential flow will result in some 100 fast and intense rapids, more than half of them rated Class III and above.


The 2015 season is Sept. 11 through Oct. 18, with most weekends featuring Gauley-season rafting Fridays through Mondays.


In spring and summer the flows are dependent upon snow melt and precipitation. In the fall, however, the 12-mile Upper Gauley features Class IV and V rapids while the 13-mile Lower Gauley rapids range from Class III to V.


And the country’s premier adventure resort is prepared with top guides, equipment, accommodations and numerous money-saving packages. This year, Adventures on the Gorge (AOTG) will offer a $25 per person discount every Friday during Gauley Season. On opening day, Friday, Sept. 11, that discount will be $50 per person. And every Monday throughout the season, AOTG will offer a $100 discount for rafters tackling the Upper and Lower Gauley or the Upper Gauley twice.


“There’s a reason we call it the ‘Beast of the East,’” said Dave Arnold, co-founder and senior vice president of public relations and strategic partnerships for Adventures on the Gorge (AOTG). “If you want to see a rafter’s eyes light up, just mention the Gauley River. On days when the Corps is drawing down the lake, the Gauley is the top rafting river in the world.”


It’s a fall-season ritual that Arnold has seen for years. In fact, he’s partly responsible. The dam was built in 1966 to control flooding when the whitewater rafting industry on the Gauley and nearby New Rivers was still in its infancy. Years later, innovative outfitters with dreams of big water asked the Army Corps of Engineers to release water for eight hours per day on fall weekends instead of continual release over a seven- or eight-day period. The Army Corps of Engineers agreed, and Arnold’s outfitter, Class VI, and several other outfitters – including some that would eventually join together to form Adventures on the Gorge – successfully solicited help from their congressman, resulting in the passing of a bill that legalized the procedure and made Gauley Season one of the most celebrated whitewater events in the world.


Many rafters opt to run the Upper and Lower Gauley on successive days. AOTG offers a variety of accommodations ranging from campgrounds to luxury homes, but one of its more popular options features a night camping next to the river itself. Rafters often bring their own gear or rent it from AOTG which transports the equipment to a designated campsite.


This overnight option including dinner after the first day of rafting and breakfast the next morning results in one of the country’s top rafting/camping experiences. Gourmet meals are prepared over an open fire by Chef Mary Brent Galyean who was raised in the area and was recently featured on the Food Network’s show Chopped. Sample items prepared by Galyean include a watermelon prime ribbed slow-cooked in foil, sweet potatoes, Thai peanut pasta, salmon and salad.


In addition to rafting on the Gauley and New Rivers, Adventures on the Gorge features aerial adventures, lake activities, an array of overnight accommodations, dining and more. Rafting is still the most popular activity, but now guests often stay for multiple days to enjoy the diversity of a leading adventure resort.


AOTG offers packages for all interests and budgets, including several single- and multi-day packages built around rafting the Gauley.


Travelers can find out more about Adventures on the Gorge online, calling 1-855-379-8738

2 comments for “Adventures on the Gorge Readies for World’s Best Whitewater

  1. vickie couturier
    August 24, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    i have been white water rafting many times but it was years ago,,it was so much fun,i went down the ocoee river in TN,,where the olymipics were once

  2. August 24, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    The closest I want to get to white water rafting is what I experience at the local water park!

    I am not graceful enough to get in the boat much less steer it.

    Glad your son had a wonderful time.

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