Canoe and Kayak down the Cheat River Trail

Summertime Fun on the Cheat River by Brian Sarfino

Perfect river days in a raft, on top of a kayak, or swimming deep river pools are found on the Cheat River just north of Parsons, West Virginia. Clean cool waters flow from high up in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. A day on the Cheat River begins with an all-encompassing outfitter that can either guide you down the river, supply various types of boats for rent, and shuttle services for those that own their own boats. Tucker County’s two outfitters, Blackwater Outdoor Adventures and Patriots 4 are located in the town of Saint George near Parsons, West Virginia. Saint George is located a beautiful 30 minute drive from the Davis and Canaan Valley area.

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The Cheat River is one of the oldest rivers in the world. Flowing north a couple of hundred miles until reaching the Ohio River not far from Pittsburgh, PA. Headwaters are some of the highest found on the east coast, providing cold crisp water that sustains native trout populations. This is also the longest undammed river system east of the Mississippi River. There is a reason we call West Virginia wild and wonderful.

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Stretches of water from Parsons to Albright, West Virginia have been popular among recreationalist for years. In 2012, establishment of the National Water Trails System made way for 40 miles of the Cheat River to be designated as a water trail. This designation recognizes the Cheat River Water Trail as a significant recreational asset and protects the integrity of the river from an environmental standpoint. Several public access points along the river are open to the public. For a list of those access points and mileage, click HERE.

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Choices are abound for what kind of excitement or relaxation it is you’re looking for. Let’s begin with what the river has to offer along the upper section of the water trail. Moving water with small waves, also known a class I whitewater, are followed by deep pools of water that are great for swimming or fishing. Anyone can safely navigate these waters. Whether you are in the boat or out of it is another story. Canoe, Kayak, inner tubes, and stand up paddle boards are all used on this section of river.

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Whitewater enthusiasts and thrill seekers schedule guided whitewater rafting trips through the Cheat Narrows with Blackwater Outdoor Adventures. The excitement class III whitewater brings can be hair raising with big spring water yet the ideal introduction to whitewater with thrills all summer long. Lunch trips are even available for an entire afternoons on the river swimming, jumping off rocks, and splashing through rapids that soak the entire boat!

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See you on the river!

Cheers, Brian