Need advice on WV New River/Gauley trip on a budget
July 17, 2009 12:05 AM   Subscribe

We would like to plan a family trip (myself, husband, 15 & 18 yo athletic teens) to the New River/Gauley in WV & would like some recommendations about which river, which outfitter, and lodging recommendations.

My husband and I did the lower New a few years ago and my husband did the Gauley a couple years ago in the Fall, so we somewhat know what to expect. Our kids have never done any WW rafting, but they're adventurous and athletic and would likely be bored meandering down a slow river. We're planning on the week of August 16th. Recommendations on which river we should go with?

We're on a tight budget, so bonus points for money saving ideas. I'm NOT a camping kind of person, but I'm willing to suffer for a couple days in one of those tents-on-a-platform and hiking to a shower house. I can't do more primitive than that. However, I'm kind of surprised to find the price (for a family of 4) is upward of $75 for those! I can stay at a Holiday Inn Express with breakfast included for that price! But alas, no where near where we need to be.

We'd also like to include a Canopy Tour. I've looked at a whole bunch of sites, and I'm starting to think that there are only a couple different places that actually run the tours, but different outfitters (i.e. Class VI) will arrange them for you? Is that correct?

If that's the case, am I better off arranging everything separately (canopy tour, rafting, tent lodging, or whatever) or trying to find a package deal?

Again, we're on a tight budget, so any money-saving ideas would be appreciated!
posted by caroljean63 to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've never done the Gauley, but I've done full-day (~6 hours or so, with lunch) trips on the lower New 3 times; twice as a teenager and again about 20 years later with my wife. My guess is that if they've never done whitewater before then the New will probably be plenty of fun, even with the lazy stretches between some of the rapids. Besides, at least some of the rafting companies will encourage you to make the most of the trip by swimming in the pools (and some of the rapids), jumping off of Jump Rock, having water fights, etc. I can't see it being boring.

FWIW, I've always gone with the same company, and been very happy. When I was a teenager it was called Mountain River Tours, but they merged with another company and became Adventures Mountain River. Their website suggests a private campground just up the road, but I'd avoid it - my wife and I stayed there and found it noisy and poorly managed. We ended up moving to a nearby state park for the second night. We tent (on the ground) so I don't have much else to suggest in terms of cheap lodging.
posted by jon1270 at 3:43 AM on July 17, 2009

Oops, I see that the company I suggested is now part of Class VI, so nothing you weren't aware of.
posted by jon1270 at 3:50 AM on July 17, 2009

This is going back maybe 6 years, but we've stayed at Ace a few times. They run both the New and the Gauley, offer Canopy tours, and have a wide variety of lodging accommodations. Their 'family tents' look like a pretty good option - it would run about $60 for two 'tents on a platform' with mattresses.

There are some package deals too, perhaps you could find one that works for you.
posted by true at 6:34 AM on July 17, 2009

How about Hawk's Nest State Park?
posted by heather-b at 10:39 AM on July 17, 2009

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