Gauley River’s Famous Big 5 Rapids

Need more extreme on your visit to the New River Gorge than Bridge Day? Try taking on the rapids of one of the World\'s Top 10 whitewater rafting rivers.

Rivermen on the Rapid

The Gauley River only rages once a year, and thankfully, that time lines up with Bridge Day. So you can catch all the aerial thrills of the BASE jumping, rappelling and high lining, then go full-force with world-class whitewater rapids.

The Gauley is famous for its "Big 5" rapids: the Class V monster rapids on the Upper Gauley. Adventurers, delight. These guys are big, bad, and each one is its own unique blend of swirls, churns and drops.
So, yeah, the Gauley earned that Top 10 title. Here\'s what to expect on the Big 5: 

1. Insignificant

Start out with long line of steep drops— bam, bam, bam! That will train you right into an onslaught of pounding waves and huge holes of recirculating water,  including a massive pour over. Keep an eye out for those; you don\'t want to hit \'em.

2. Pillow Rock

One of the more unique rapids you\'ll find, pillow rock\'s name is self-explanatory. After dodging a minefield of smaller rocks, a massive pillow of water rushes you up and over a building-sized boulder, which lurks just inches below the surface. Then you\'ll slide swiftly down the other side.

3. Lost Paddle

This one\'s a long stretch: a full quarter-mile of continuous whitewater with 4 separate drops, and a huge wave that leads directly into a 9-foot plunge. You\'ll have to zigzag around a mess of undercut rocks, then slide through one of the exit slots at the end.

4. Iron Ring

A favorite for spectators, Iron Ring will roll you down an 8-foot drop, and you have work to avoid a boulder and a hole quickly, quickly! Then you tumble immediately down another 8-foot fall. But the obstacles change depending on water levels, so keep your ears open for instruction.

5. Sweet’s Falls

The final challenge of the Gauley\'s Big 5 is a 14-foot waterfall. If you\'re lined up right, it\'ll be a thrilling and fun drop. If not… you might be swimming. And after the falls, you have to keep those paddles ready to avoid tipping on the rock at the bottom. Or, you might have to swing left into "the box." Just barely big enough for a raft, you\'ll have to wiggle your way out of the jokingly named "poop chute," which might hurt your adventurer credibility.
So what do you say adventurers? That enough to keep your adrenaline pumping while you\'re here for Bridge Day? If not, you could mountain bike the trails, take a skydive, or any number of outdoor activities. (There are milder ones, too!)
But, hey, why miss out on a Top 10 river in the World?