Fayette County was formed by the General Assembly of Virginia on February 28, 1831. The name pays tribute to the Marquis de Lafayette as does the town of Fayetteville. English hunters and trappers from Virginia are responsible for the the first settlements here. Coal mining and lumbering evolved after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad was constructed in 1873 through the New River Gorge. These two industries were very instrumental in the economic development of Fayette County. Tourism is another industry that became important in the 1890’s and today is it a major economic industry for the entire state. The New and Gauley Rivers offer tourists a world-class experience in white water rafting. The New River is the oldest river in the western hemisphere, one of the few rivers in the world to run north from North Carolina to West Virginia . The total length of the New River is 341.4 miles of which 87 are in West Virginia. Once in WV the river becomes the New River Gorge National River which is a part of the National Park Service. The average width of the river is one mile and the depth ranges from 700-1300 feet. There is a 14 mile stretch where the river drops 240 feet which creates between Class I and Class VI rapids. The river is divided into three sections which provides for an assortment of rafting experiences. The upper “New” is ideal for floating and fishing trips while the Middle “New” offers rapids between the class II and class III range. This is the trip for the those “NEW” to the rafting experience. For those wanting a wild and memorable rafting experience, the Lower New River is the place to raft. On the lower “New”, one will experience between class II and class V rapids. Jump Rock and Swimmer’s Rapid are favorites for all rafters.
For the daring and adventurous, the Gauley River is for you. For 20 days starting in September, the Summersville Dam releases water into the Gauley River to provide rafters with an unforgettable experience. The Gauley drops 668 feet through 28 miles of rugged terrain and features more than 100 rapids. This trip is the “wildest” of the wild and not for the faint of heart. The Upper Gauley offers class III to V+ drops though chutes named Pillow Rock, Iron Ring, and the ever popular Sweets Falls. The Lower Gauley consists of class III-V whitewater. If you like roller coasters, you’ll love the lower Gauley. Rafting companies are celebrating 33 years on the New River. With over 25 professional companies, you will be provided the experience of a lifetime.
Local Rafting Companies