Since 1972, River Expeditions’ seasoned river guides have organized whitewater-rafting trips down the New River and the Gauley River in southern West Virginia’s scenic Appalachian Mountains. There’s a stretch of water for all ages and skill levels, from those looking for a scenic float to paddlers craving a soaked-to-the-bone thrill ride. In addition to day trips, River Expeditions also offers overnight excursions, which typically include camping on the riverbank, cooking out beneath the stars, and paying off local owls to guard the food at night.
River Expeditions can also arrange horseback riding, ziplining, mountain biking, fishing, and ATV tours.
Rivermen's New River rafting trips guide amateurs and avid aquanauts alike through some of the most scenic whitewater rapids of New River Gorge National River. Reverential rafters can drink up hearty eyefuls of the gorge and its abundant wildlife, weathered bluffs, and recognizable bridge, as seen on the West Virginia state Pog and quarter. The upper river excursion (4–6 hours, $124) traverses canyons on relatively mild waters punctuated by a few easy rapids. Easily navigable by group raft or inflatable duck (a kayak-like vessel that holds 1–2 people), the upper trip makes an enjoyable introduction to whitewater for families, beginner to intermediate rafters, and adolescent Loch Ness monsters. The lower route (4–6 hours, $134) quickens the pulse with more than 25 rapids, as well as tranquil pools and the requisite breathtaking scenery. Both tours will stop to provide lunch.
West Virginia's New River Gorge beckons thrill-seekers and nature-lovers alike with a stretch of unspoiled nature, and Adventures on the Gorge rests on the rim to make sure they find it. Blending quiet country peace with adrenaline-pumping excitement, the resort has a little something for everyone. Whitewater rafting expeditions, for instance, send paddlers of all skill levels across the rolling rapids and peaceful stretches of the Lower New River and the Gauley River. Ziplines, on the other hand, lift nature explorers into the canopy, and the TimberTrek Aerial Park lets guests navigate the forest the same way squirrels do?on a series of ziplines, swings, and bridges.
So that guests never have to leave, Adventures on the Gorge tends to all their creature comforts. Cabins nestled in the woods contain comfy couches and even hot tubs, whereas campgrounds allow people to get back to their simpler roots. Yet no matter where they stay, guests can swing into the onsite restaurants and pubs to grab a cold one and avoid the hassle of cooking a casserole over a fire.
Claytor Lake Water Sports' fleet of rental boats and water equipment lets customers float, relax, and play amid the local wildlife and camera-ready sights of Claytor Lake. Canoes, kayaks, and motorized vessels such as pontoon boats snake along the lake's 21 miles of narrow and winding waterways, where spotted bass swim and test scuba gear beneath the surface. Flanked by lush trees, speedboats race across the water and lure adventurous riders perched atop water skis and other towables.
In addition to renting boats and gear, the staff at Claytor Lake Water Sports takes sightseers on scenic lake tours. They also maintain a commitment to the environment, equipping most of their watercrafts with electronic fuel injections and four-stroke engines that produce lower emissions and brighter rainbows.
Perched on the banks of Smith Mountain Lake, Bridgewater Marina & Boat Rental launches and lends a variety of lake skimmers to pleasure-seeking pontooners. Peruse and patrol the waters for the elusive Bigfin from atop a four-stroke pontoon boat, whose flat deck area gives a surface for chips and dip and heated canasta competitions. Hedonists, meanwhile, can crank hydroplaning into high gear with a runabout ski-boat rental that?when brought up to speed?can quickly dry hair still soaked with Gatorade from last night's solitaire victory. Bridgewater gives pilots a free safety and instructional orientation before launching them onto the lake, and allows boaters to upgrade one-hour rentals to two hours, or even full days, for an extra fee.
As the James and Maury Rivers wind through the Blue Ridge Mountains, they carry kayakers, canoeists, and inner-tube riders past sheer rock walls, boulder-studded rapids, and tree-blanketed mountain peaks. For more than 30 years, the outdoorsmen at Twin River Outfitters have facilitated adventures for explorers of all experience levels on the nearly 100 miles of these rivers in the upper James River Basin. In addition to renting watercraft for independent exploration, Twin River's team leads guided outings, including overnight excursions. The headquarters also encompass a paddle shop, where a knowledgeable staff advises outdoorsmen on gear such as boats, life jackets, and oars autographed by local salmon.