We love unconventional “Girls Trips” in my family and that’s why myself and five other women hit the road to West Virginia for a few days of whitewater rafting. We booked an overnight trip on Lower New River through Adventures on the Gorge, one of the oldest and largest “adventure resorts” in the area. We showed up with no prior experience and no clue what to expect!
Tip #1: Pack light. We checked in for the trip and learned that we’d be placing our belongings inside waterproof duffel bags that are paddled down the river to our campsite by another raft.
Suggested Packing List:
- Quick-drying shorts and t-shirt
- Old tennis shoes or water shoes
- Baseball cap or visor (more comfortable than sunglasses and is strapped under your helmet so it won’t fall off)
- Sleeping bag
- Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant)
- Bug repellent
- Sweatshirt/jacket and sweatpants
- Sandals for at the campsite
Day 1 of this trip was pretty easy and a great intro to rafting. We spent the day in individual rafts called duckies and the rapids never got above a Class III.
Tip #2: Hang on to your sunscreen. Be sure to take your sunscreen out of your duffel and give it to your guide so you have it on hand throughout the day. I learned the hard way and have bright red legs to show for it.
We reached our campsite which was right on the bank of the river. The gear guy had set up a little kitchen and was preparing our dinner while we pitched our tents. Our package included meals and snacks and everything we ate was amazing! They also had a cooler of beer which was an added bonus.
Tip #3: Be prepared to do some work. Apart from paddling, we also helped haul the rafts in and out of the water and set up our own tents.
It was really cool to camp alongside the river but there are also train tracks that run along the river and therefore right next to the campsite. The constant screeching made for a less than quality night’s sleep.
On Day 2, we were all together in a larger raft with 4 people on each side. It was definitely more intense than the first day and we hit a number of Class IV and V rapids. We spent about 5 hours on the river stopping once for a snack.
The water was very warm and we were able to get out of the raft and float along in just our life jackets. There was even the option to float through some smaller rapids outside the raft which was really fun.
Tip #4: Wear quick-drying clothes, but you don’t need anything fancy. Whether you’re getting in and out of the raft or not, you’re going to get soaked going through the rapids and you’ll be a lot more comfortable if you’re not dripping wet the entire time. You don’t need to buy water shoes. I used an old pair of tennis shoes and they worked great.
For first-time whitewater rafters, Adventures on the Gorge was a nice introduction and would be perfect for people of any age or experience level. The scenery was breathtaking and we experienced rapids of varying difficulty.
Before heading home, we hiked the Endless Wall Trail to Diamond Point. A short hike, an amazing view of the Gorge and a great way to end our short stay in West Virginia.