The Lower Gauley, just like the Upper section, flows through the Gauley River National Recreation Area in southern West Virginia. It begins where the Upper Gauley ends, at Ender Waves, although there are a few alternate put-ins downstream as well.

It is similar in difficulty to the Lower New River and is a great intermediate run for kayakers and rafters. It's especially fun for play boaters with great play waves in nearly every rapid. It is most popular during Gauley Season (from Labor Day weekend to Bridge Day) but, unlike the Upper Gauley, can be run at a wider range of flows throughout the year.

Trip Highlights

Mile 0: Put-in at Ender Waves. Below here are a couple miles of Class II.

Mile 2.5: Backender (III+) has a huge sticky hole at the bottom.

Mile 3: Koontz Flume (IV) has a huge undercut rock on the right.

Beautiful scenery around Koontz Flume

Beautiful scenery around Koontz Flume

Mile 3.5: Canyon Doors (III+) has some beautiful sandstone rocks walls on the right. At high water it's much bigger. There are some great surf spots here.

Mile 5.8: Upper Mash (IV) is technical rapid with Indecision Rock that regularly pins rafts.

Mile 5.9: Lower Mash (IV) has a huge, fun wave half way down.

Video boater catching the action at Lower Mash

Video boater catching the action at Lower Mash

Mile 6.3: Diagonal Ledges (III) has a beautiful surf wave and is a classic eddy service surf spot.

Mile 6.7: Heaven's Gate (IV) is followed by several miles of great Class III rapids.

Mile 9.75: Pure Screaming Hell (IV) is a long rapid with a sieve on the right and a huge hold on the bottom right. After P.S.H. there are a few small rapids and a couple miles of flat water to Swiss.

Pure Screaming Hell (P.S.H.) on the Lower Gauley River

Pure Screaming Hell (P.S.H.) on the Lower Gauley River

Mile 13.6: Takeout at Swiss

Thank you Robin Rinaldi for help putting this description together.