Islander kayak – The Cheat River runs north into the Monongahela River in Morgantown, WV from high mountain feeder streams and creeks. It is not as popular a whitewater rafting destination as the New and Gauley Rivers in southern West Virginia, but still boasts the same adventurous experience. For the serious whitewater kayaking enthusiast, the Cheat Canyon Downriver Race is held every spring along a 10-mile section of the river.
Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking Through Cheat Narrows
Cheat Narrows is a medium difficulty 10-mile portion of the Cheat River located upstream from the more difficult Cheat Canyon. The most popular rapid along this course is Calamity Rock, a large boulder in the middle of the river that forces paddlers to choose which side to tackle. The section’s namesake rapid, the Narrows, is a series of narrow rapids that are all similar and range from Class II to Class III. In general, the Cheat Narrows section has a tame rating up to Class IV but heavy rains or late snow melt can bump the excitement up to Class V for islander kayak.
Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking Through Cheat Canyon
Cheat Canyon is more difficult and many whitewater outfitters require a minimum age of 14, given the increased need for skill and dexterity in islander kayak. At peak water levels with high rains Cheat Canyon will produce rapids in Class V+ but normal levels provide a challenging set of Class III to Class IV rapids. The primary season for Cheat Canyon is early spring through June, but most outfitters will run whitewater rafting and kayaking trips after heavy rains during late summer. Popular rapids include Decision, Big Nasty and Swimmers Rapid.
Cheat Canyon Downriver Race
The Cheat Canyon route is the location for a popular whitewater kayaking race held during the Cheat Festival on the first weekend in May. The Cheat Canyon Downriver Race is held when the water is swift and high during spring. Experienced crossover kayak rafters can make the 10-mile run in about an hour, while paddlers bringing up the rear will finish in just under two hours. Since the first race in 1996, the number of race participants has steadily grown from about 20 to almost 160 contestants.
Whitewater Paddling Fun for Everybody
West Virginia’s state slogan, “Wild and Wonderful,” applies to many recreation opportunities available to residents and tourists. The popularity of whitewater paddling sports has created beds of whitewater outfitters along the New, Gauley and Cheat Rivers. Whitewater rafting and kayaking enthusiasts will find pleasure in what Cheat River has to offer, whether for competition or leisure in islander kayak.
Colorado River Rafting at the Grand Canyon
Colorado River rafting offers a unique perspective and magnificent views from the base of the Grand Canyon to islander kayak. Whitewater and smooth water rafting trip options ensure accessibility for rafters of all ages and ability levels.
Rafting guides take crossover kayak tourists on Grand Canyon rafting trips for half a day, a full day, or on lengthy excursions over three to eighteen days. Private Colorado River rafting journeys typically range from two to twenty-five days, depending on the launch and take-out sites.
Trips rafting the Grand Canyon with guides may be available at the last minute. However, private rafting adventures book one to two years in advance.
Commercial Rafting Adventures with Tour Company Rafting Guides
A wide variety of tour providers offer guided smooth water or whitewater rafting adventures for groups of rafters.
A popular one-day whitewater rafting adventure launches from Diamond Creek and spans 37 miles to Peach Creek. Tourists can extend the trip to two days, spending one night camping out on the Colorado River. Tour companies typically provide all meals and equipment. Half and full day smooth water rafting trips begin in Page, Arizona, and journey from the Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry.
Dozens of commercial tour operators offer three to eighteen day guided river trips, using paddle or motorized rafts and dories to navigate the Colorado River. Tourists have a wide selection of camping and lodging options, depending on the travel budget and preferred accommodations. Upgrades and add-ons include mule rides, guided hikes, and Grand Canyon helicopter tours.
Private Colorado River Rafting Adventures
Private, unguided or semi-guided two to five day river rafting trips launch from Diamond Creek and take-out at Lake Mead. Groups must apply for a license, distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, through the National Park Service.
Privately rafting the Grand Canyon for twelve to twenty-five days is not suitable (or permitted) for inexperienced heritage kayaks rafters. Private groups cannot hire guides; they must apply for a license and sign up for the weighted lottery through the National Park Service.
Rafting and camping the Colorado River as a part of a private group is an adventurous, rewarding way to experience the natural beauty and majesty of the Grand Canyon. Before booking a private trip, carefully review the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service’s Noncommercial River Trip Regulations booklet.
Colorado River Rafting and Grand Canyon Day Trip Tips
Appropriate dress and equipment are crucial for a safe, enjoyable Grand Canyon tour. Bring water and snacks, dress in layers, and pack extra money or traveler’s checks in a waterproof, airtight bag.
A rafting adventure, whether for a single day or several weeks, requires careful planning. Never enter the Colorado River without a guide or experienced, qualified rafter.
Create an emergency plan and notify friends and park officials of the rafting route and expected arrival date and time. Review all park rules and regulations before launching.
More Information on Colorado River Rafting and Grand Canyon Day Trip Options
Grand Canyon heritage kayaks have an array of day trip and extended trip choices, offered through dozens of licensed tour operators. Bus tours, mule rides, private or guided hikes, aerial sightseeing, helicopter tours, and pontoon boat rides are all popular Grand Canyon tourist activities.
See Adventurous Grand Canyon Trips for information on Grand Canyon helicopter tours, bus tours, and other day trip options along with heritage kayaks.