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Lower Railroad Rapid, Lower New River Gorge



RAPID NAME: Lower Railroad


RIVER SECTION: Lower New River Gorge - Cunard To Fayette Station

This Class III rapid is just downstream from the railroad trestle.

32,000-14,000 cfs(12-7’), 14,000-7,500 cfs(7-4’) – At higher flows, there are lines on both the right and the left and both have multiple waves to run. The main danger is the cluster of large rocks at the bottom of the rapid, some of which are undercut. There is a great surf for kayaks on the river right side with eddy service.


7,500-4,400 cfs(4-2’) – At these mid-level flows, the entrance is left of center on the main downstream V. There are a few good waves just after the entrance and then you want to maneuver right of the boulder cluster at the bottom.

4,400-2,400 cfs(2-0’) – At these low flows is when the action and options begin in Lower Railroad. The standard entrance on the downstream V is still viable, but you want to hug the right side of the V as the left begins to have some steep pour-overs. On the far left, the Kayak Slot move opens up. This is a steep drop maneuvering in between the rocks at the top left. The Big Hole, one of the best known surfs on the river, comes out at these levels, and there is a huge eddy on the river left for coming back upstream to surf multiple times. There is also a smaller, more mellow surf called the Little Hole which is just at the base of the kayak slot. (*Once below 2,000 cfs, the route to be taken on the river right side, known as the Dory Line. It is narrow, shallow, and extremely rocky, but it becomes the last viable line at extremely low levels.)