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Gauley rafting season underway

Fall Gauley Season is now in full force. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Division of Tourism)

The West Virginia Tourism Office has announced the start of the 2017 Fall Gauley Season with the first release of water from the Summersville Dam.

“West Virginia is a four-season travel and tourism destination, but there is no question that our vivid fall foliage and unmatched outdoor recreation make fall one of our peak seasons for visitors,” said Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby in a media release.

“Having a one-of-a-kind experience, like Gauley Season, puts West Virginia on the map for adventure-seekers across the country and around the world. From September to October, West Virginia’s Gauley River becomes one of the top 10 whitewater rivers in the world, bringing in a steady crowd of residents and visitors alike to experience our state’s world-class whitewater and take in our breathtaking fall beauty. I look forward to another successful Gauley Season.”

Although West Virginia offers seasonally driven, year-round whitewater rafting, Gauley Season is known for its challenging rapids and narrow window of opportunity, which draws more than 40,000 rafters from around the world to experience the “Beast of the East.”

The first release of water from the dam at Summersville Lake, coordinated by the Army Corps of Engineers, will create more than 100 rapids along 25 miles of the Gauley River — with more than 60 being Class III to V+ rapids. The season continues with six weeks of three- and four-day releases, closing with a two-day release which starts on Bridge Day, Oct. 21.

Fall Gauley River release dates remaining include:

Sept. 15-18; 22-25; 29-30

Oct. 1-2; 6-8; 14-15; 21 (Bridge Day) and 22.

Visitors are encouraged to share photos and videos of their whitewater rafting experiences with the hashtag #AlmostHeaven.

For more information about Fall Gauley Season and other autumn activities in West Virginia, visit


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