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Boasting 18 square miles of prime West Virginia real estate, the Gauley River National Recreation Area is the state’s adventure basecamp. Located near Summersville, the park protects a 25-mile stretch of the Gauley River and part of the adjacent Meadow River. Travel here is primarily by river, and it’s a wild ride. The Gauley boasts five Class V rapids, but visitors can also fish, camp, enjoy the diverse plant and animal life, and learn about the area’s history and heritage.
Those wanting to run the “Beast of the East” will find scores of outfitters renting gear and offering guided tours. Experienced boaters can look forward to full-day trips; those on the Upper Gauley will drop 335 vertical feet in less than 13 miles.