Meadow River Kayaking & Rafting in West Virginia

The Meadow River in West Virginia is a tributary of the Gauley River. This area features waterways that flow through scenic gorges and beautiful valleys that contain many natural wonders and features of cultural significance.

Meadow River white water rafting
Image courtesy Michael Blow via CC By-SA 2.0 license

The Gauley River itself features several class V+ rapids. This makes it one of the most challenging and adventurous river routes in the eastern United States for both kayaking and white water rafting.

In 1988, the Gauley River National Recreation Area was established as part of the National Park Service.

Weather Near Meadow River WV

The Meadow River is located within the Appalachian Mountain region and weather there can be unpredictable, often changing quickly. Sudden storms are always a possibility, so prepare accordingly.

The warmest month in a typical year is July, which is also when the largest amount of precipitation occurs on average as well. 10-day weather forecast near Meadow River WV.

Map of Meadow River

Map of Meadow River and Gauley River in West Virginia

Meadow River WV Kayak and Rafting Trips

Below you’ll find two popular runs for kayaking or white water rafting on the Meadow River in West Virginia. These sections of river can be dangerous, so please use caution. At least 3 paddlers have died on the Meadow River, as noted in the American Whitewater Accident Database[1][2][3].

⚠️ WARNING: This location information is for reference purposes only and subject to change. Consult a professional river guide before attempting to paddle any river runs.

Upper Meadow River Kayaking / Rafting Runs

Put-in: Rainelle
Take-out: Russelville
Difficulty: Class III (IV)
Length: 15 miles

Middle Meadow River Kayaking

Put-in: Nallen
Take-out: US 19 Bridge
Difficulty: Class III
Length: 5 miles

Video: Kayaking the Lower Meadow River in West Virginia

Wade Harrison recorded this fantastic video in 2020 of the difficult paddling on the lower section of the Meadow River in West Virginia. He met up with some locals to add this stretch of river to his list of completed kayak runs, running the river along with some local paddlers. Thanks for sharing this great video with the public, Wade!

Where to Stay Near Meadow River WV

There are many options around the Gauley River National Recreation area which contains the Meadow River. Camping is our favorite choice for any rafting or kayaking adventure, but if you’re looking for more comfy accommodations there are also motels and even cabins nearby. You can also check out our other articles if you’re looking to learn more about camping while kayaking or the best camping kayaks.

Camping Near Meadow River WV

Dispersed Camping in Gauley River National Recreation Area

You are allowed to practice dispersed camping throughout the federally-owned land in Gauley River National Recreation Area park unless it’s posted otherwise. Just respect of the owners of privately-owned lands around the national park.

There is no camping fee for dispersed camping but keep in mind that your camp site must be at least 100 feet away from any river access areas, areas with developed trail heads, the edges and bottoms of cliffs, or historical ruins or park structures. Your stay is also limited to a maximum of 14 days in the same camp area.

Established Campgrounds Near Meadow River WV

Gauley Tailwaters Campground

Primitive camping is offered by the National Park Service at Gauley Tailwaters. This campground is located just south of the Summersville Dam. Gauley Tailwaters campsite can accommodate both tents and RVs and has 18 drive-in campsites. View on Google Maps.

Since this is a primitive campground it does not have RV sewer, electric, or water hookups, and the bathroom facilities are limited to vault toilets. No reservations are accepted — all campsites are available first-come, first-served basis only.
More information

Meadow River Campground

Right on the bank of the Meadow River and bordering the Meadow River Rail Trail, this campground is an ideal location for folks looking for a genuine West Virginia adventure. Not only do experienced kayakers have access to the lower Meadow River, but the family can also go tubing on a three mile stretch of the lazy section of river as well. Learn More

Tawny Farm

For something a bit different, consider camping at this 126 acre sheep near the Gauley River National Recreation Area. Primitive camping is available by reservation only. Learn More

New River Gorge Campground

While a bit further from the heart of the Meadow River, the New River Gorge Campground is a popular choice among adventurers. Located in Lansing, WV, this campground is within walking distance of popular climbing walls and trails for hiking. Learn More

Cabins Near Meadow River Rafting

One of the great things about this section of the Appalachia is the large number of diverse places to kick off your shoes and relax with nature. Here are just a small sampling of the many interesting cabin lodgings that are available to you in the Gauley River area of West Virginia.

New & Gauley Cabins

Boasting both a cottage and small cabins, this location is ideal for adventures and families alike. Learn More

Country Road Cabins

Luxury in the woods! Glamping, cabins, and adventures galore await you at this awesome destination. Learn More

New River Gorge Cabins

Cabins and tiny homes in Fayetteville, West Virginia, just north of New River Gorge national park. Learn More

Hotels and Motels Near Gauley River National Recreation Area

La Quinta Inn & Suites Summersville
106 Merchants Walk, Summersville, West Virginia 26651

Super 8 by Wyndham Summersville
306 Merchants Walk, Summersville, West Virginia 26651-1903

SureStay Hotel by Best Western Summersville
1203 Broad Street Summersville, West Virginia 26651 United States

Meadow River Rafting Outfitters

Group of people wearing life vests and helmets while waiting for whitewater rafting adventure
Image courtesy Janice Temple via CC By-SA 2.0 license

While the Meadow River doesn’t have many specific outfitters for larger group river rafting, the nearby New River and Gualey River have some incredible companies offering seasonal trips down the rivers.

River Expeditions

Get out rafting on the Gauley River in either 7-person or 4-person boat configurations with River Expeditions. Learn More

New & Gauley River Adventures

Get out paddling on either the New River or the Gauley River during their respective seasons. Learn More

Stack of inflatable whitewater rafts on a trailer
Image courtesy Janice Temple via CC By-SA 2.0 license

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