I went to West Virginia looking for some good whitewater rafting and found lots of it! I rafted the New River (actually the second oldest river in the world – it was there before the Appalachians which formed around it) and it was a blast. The water was warm and so was the air so it makes for a great trip.
We lucked out because there had been a lot of rain just before our trip so they made a dam release which raised the water level two feet. There are 23 rapids in all, 22 of which you’ll do after lunch. The water is big so you can expect to swim at some point. Lots of Class IV and V rapids if you’re looking for excitement. I went with a company called ACE and for $20 more you can do the trip and then go back up and do the 22 after-lunch rapids again. It’s pretty cheap too: $75 on the weekend and $67 on weekdays. Of course, that includes the big lunch/barbecue on the river.
West Virginia has some other exciting rivers too, some bigger and some smaller than the New River. The Cheat is in northern West Virginia and is smaller than the New. The biggee of all West Virginian rivers is the Gauley and it’s rated one of the top 10 in the world. It has 60 rapids, tho I think that comprises the Upper and the Lower Gauley. Fall is the best time to run the Gauley but be prepared for it’s cold waters!