Best Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing in West Virginia

This list represents the most popular whitewater kayaking & canoeing in West Virginia. Use this list to plan your next West Virginia whitewater kayaking & canoeing trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

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#1. Muddlety Creek: WV 41 to Summersville Lake


This creek leaves US 19 and civilization, meandering off toward the Gauley River and Summersville Lake in a deceptively lazy manner. Rounding the first curve the gradient picks up, and the drops get v…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Summersville, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 4.5 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#2. South Branch of the Potomac River: Above the US 220 Bridge Near Upper Tract and Smoke Hole Canyon to below Romney


The South Branch starts just inside Virginia with the confluence of Straight Creek and the East Branch Potomac River. From here, the water drifts, rumbles, and rolls for 130+ miles to its confluence w…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Franklin, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 130 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#3. Cacapon River: Above Cacapon Bridge to Potomac River


This is a very popular canoeing stream, with good rapids and exquisite scenery. It’s often up in the winter; the snow-covered banks combine with the unusual rock formations for a wonderfully scenic ru…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Cold Stream, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 70 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#4. Shenandoah River: VA 7 to Sandy Hook, MD


The river below the WV 127 bridge has very little gradient all of the way to the mouth of the Potomac at Great Cacapon. It transcribes huge loops through the mountains and ridges with a few mild rapid…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Millville, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 23.5 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#5. Cheat River: Parsons to Cheat Lake


The Cheat begins in the real mountains of the state as four big forks: Shavers, Glady, Laurel, and Dry, each separated from its neighbors by high mountain ridges. Shavers Fork actually flows on top of…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Parsons, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 69 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#6. Laurel Fork of the Cheat River: Laurel Fork Campground to Jenningston


Both sections of this river carry a paddler back to the eighteenth century. The upper Laurel Fork is an intimate, easy stream flowing through the Laurel Fork-North Wilderness area. The lower section i…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Wymer, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 29 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#7. Greenbrier: The Greenbrier Forks and Little River and Durbin to Bellepoint


From its source the Greenbrier winds its way for 150 miles through some of the most beautiful and productive land in the state to meet the New River in Hinton. It begins high in the mountains at the “…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Durbin, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 166.5 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#8. The Tygart Valley River: Above Elkins, The Tygart Loop, The Tygart Gorge, Mouth of Buckhannon to Philippi, Two Miles Above Arden to Big Cove Run, and Valley Falls to Colfax


The Tygart begins high in the mountains of Randolph County, not too far from the headwaters of the Elk, and flows through a wide, beautiful valley to Elkins. The river here is known as “Tygart’s Valle…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Mill Creek, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 67.8 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#9. The Main Stem of the Potomac River: Green Spring to Harper's Ferry, WV


From 2 miles below Green Spring, West Virginia (Oldtown, Maryland), where the North and South Branch of the Potomac meet to form the great Potomac River, the beautiful, historic West Virginia-Maryland…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Green Spring, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 115 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#10. North Branch of the Potomac River: Henry to Old Town, MD


The North Branch defines the border between Maryland and West Virginia until its confluence with the South Branch in Old Town, creating the main branch of the Potomac River. This branch of the Potomac…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Henry , WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 76.7 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#11. North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River: Cherry Grove to Petersburg


This is the most famous whitewater in the Eastern panhandle, providing miles of bouncy Class 2–3 whitewater in one of the state’s most beautiful mountain valleys. Discovered by canoeists from Washingt…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Circleville, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 43 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#12. Anthony Creek: Neola to the Greenbrier River


This small stream tumbles through beautiful, sparsely settled country. It’s a key tributary of the Greenbrier and one of the few in the state protected by legislation. The river from Neola to Blue Ben…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Neola, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 15 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#13. The Big Sandy Creek of Preston County: PA State Line to the Cheat River


The Big Sandy Creek in Preston County, from the Pennsylvania State line to Bruceton Mills, a very small, intimate stream with a 3-fpm gradient flowing through rhododendron thickets and small farms. Th…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Bruceton Mills, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 16.5 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#14. Glade Creek into Manns Creek: Babcock State Park to New River


This is one of the steepest and most dangerous runs in this guide. Its extreme gradient creates an astonishing sequence of Class 4, 5, and 6 boulder rapids. The river cuts its way to the New through a…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Cunard, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 7 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#15. Camp Creek: Camp Creek State Forest to Eads Mill


Although it is possible to paddle from the confluence of the Marsh Fork in Camp Creek State Park, most boaters put in at the church yard by US 19 over the Bluestone River. This 2-mile section drops…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Camp Creek, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 4.5 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#16. Buckhannon River: Alexander to Tygart River


This deceptive river is extremely sluggish below Buckhannon and its small size in the headwaters area near Alexander belie what is in store for paddlers between Alton (pronounced Elton by the locals)…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Alexander, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 49 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#17. Big Beaver Creek: Craigsville to the Gauley


This small creek starts as an intermediate run for about a mile and then changes into one of the strangest creeks you will ever encounter. The many hydraulics are all diagonal and very powerful. All o…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Craigsville, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 4.5 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#18. Tug River: Mohawk to Wharncliffe


Somehow the ravagers overlooked one little piece of this beautiful river between Mohawk, West Virginia and Majestic, Kentucky. After leaving Mohawk it is just you and the railroad down in a deep, stee…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Mohawk, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 6 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#19. Blackwater River: Canaan Valley, Upper, and Lower Sections


The Blackwater River has its headwaters in a vast upland swamp in Canaan Valley. Multiple branches funnel the 150-square-mile drainage basin into 2 main forks, which pass through the nineteenth-centur…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Hendricks, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 20.5 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#20. Cherry River: Watergate Inn to Mouth of the Gauley


Boiling eddies, big haystacks, and hidden hydraulics keep paddlers focused on the river instead of the dreary scenery. Due to its narrow, steep, banks, it’s a small river with big water. It lacks the…
From the guidebook "A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to West Virginia"
Richwood, WV - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 9 miles
Published by Menasha Ridge Press