New River (Thurmond to Curnard)
|Stretch:||Thurmond to Cunard|
|Difficulty:||Class II (III-)|
|Flows:||1,000 cfs to ??,000 cfs. Current AW gauge|
|Put-in:||Dun Glen Boat Launch|
|Take-out:||Cunard River Access|
|Shuttle:||23.8 miles, (45 minutes one-way)|
|Season:||Year round, needs a little rain anywhere in the drainage|
|Featured in Video A Wet State #156|
Diane and I ran this river ourselves to scout it for Diane’s mom to run the following day. The guidebook listed it as III with a IV, AW listed is as II with a III. We found the latter to be more accurate. And the “big” rapid was easily avoidable if you wanted. But for those eager for excitement, you could punch the big wave hole at Surprise, or even surf it (depending on the level). We had 6.4’ (7,100 cfs) at Thurmond the day we ran it, and they had about 50% more the next day when Diane and Beth ran it. At 6.4’ Surprise was great, they said it was less good to surf at the higher flow. Though just about Cunard is a nice surf wave at the higher flow Diane said. Other than the big rapid, the rest was indeed class II. Next year we will take our IK and take Aster for a float!
The run, while not exciting offered a nice entry level run, we saw fishermen and families kayaking. It is the easiest thing have done in the area, which will certainly fit some folks bill. So while, I personally, won’t be running back for my own enjoyment, it is worth doing if this difficulty of run is what you are looking for. Straight forward lines, nice scenery, and easy access… nothing to complain about. Well, the shuttle is like 45 minutes one way, so we could complain about that!
- Railroad (II+). After a short flat water stretch at put-in you pass under the railroad bridge as you are running the first rapid. We ran down the right, there were some holes on the right shore and in the middle that were all easy to avoid via a straight line down the right.
- Surfs (II-). At the 7,100 cfs there was an amazing green wave on the top left of this small rapid. I surfed it for a long time until I got tired and noticed Diane was a mile downstream. At 10,500 cfs Diane said this wave was not there.
- Two Step (II). A two part rapid that can be run just about anywhere. Left of center there are some rocks to avoid and some small hydraulics. We tried surfing them but had no real luck. Going far right avoids all the issues.
- Islands (II). The river splits around two islands making three channels. We approached the main left channel and saw it was very easy and straight forward and went to the center channel which had a little more action via some small waves and rocks.
- Not Surprise (II). Just after Islands, you get to a rapid with a longish lead in that makes you wonder if it is Surprise. We ran down the right to get a little more splashed where as the left was more straight forward. The two currents converge into a small wave train.
- Surprise (III). The main event on this run, there is a small cove on the right at the top that you could pull into and scout from if you are stepping up here. The right shore has some more aggressive eddies to catch as you work your way down the wave train. The left avoids the waves all together. In the middle though, a nice wave train feeds into what is sometimes a hole and sometimes a big wave. At 7,100 cfs it was a great surf!
- Last Hurrah (II+ to III-). The last rapid is just above take-out. Right is the most straight forward. Left has some larger hydraulics. And in the middle are some surf waves depending on the flow!
Take-out: In Fayetteville, take the main downstream street (Court St) south from highway19. After 0.5 miles turn left onto Gatewood Rd. After 4.5 miles, turn left at the Equestrian Center onto Cunard Rd. Follow this for 1.6 miles and turn onto Co Rte 9/14 and then quickly make another left to get onto Cunard River Access Rd. Follow this 1.8 miles down to the river.
Put-in: There is a lot more to this than a normal shuttle for a short run. Go back out to the Equestrian Center, and turn left this time onto Gatewood Rd. Follow this for 5.4 miles into the town of Oak Hill. Turn right onto E Martin and then a block later, left onto Main St. Follow this to US-19 and merge heading South to Beckley. After 1.3 miles, exit by turning left onto WV-16S. Follow this for 1.5 miles through the small town of Hilltop. Turn left onto Red Star Shortcut Rd. At the T in 0.6 miles, turn left onto Thurmond Rd. Follow this for 5.7 miles down to the town of Thurmond and the T, turn right onto McKendree Rd and in 200 yards look for the river access sign.
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