Just one day away, there’s excitement in the air.

It’s the annual rush that hits whitewater enthusiasts hard, and this year is no different.

The Gauley River rafting season opens Friday, and thrills are on the agenda.

That’s when water will be released from the Summersville Dam, and the Gauley River will be transformed.

The Army Corps of Engineers releases 2,800 cubic feet/second of water, and that’s the key to the breathtaking fall trips.

It’s a short season that ends in October.

Gauley Season begins the first weekend after Labor Day, and continues for six weekends (five 4-day weekends, and one 2-day weekend).

Now is the time to make plans to get into this wet and wild adventure.

The white water rapids of the Gauley River are without a doubt in the top ten most challenging rapids in the world.

The Upper Gauley is a classic, and one of the nation’s most popular rafting experiences, according to the National Park Service.

Whitewater rafting attracts more than 60,000 adventurers to the area annually.

It includes class V+ rapids: Pillow Rock, Lost Paddle, Iron Ring, Shipwreck and Sweet’s Falls (which is a 12 foot waterfall).

“Dropping more than 668 feet through 25 miles of rugged terrain, the Gauley River’s complex stretch of whitewater features more than 100 rapids with a steep gradient, technical runs, an incredible volume of water and huge waves,” the NPS website reads.

The Lower Gauley is a 12-mile stretch, rated class III to V that has been compared to a “watery roller coaster.”

Previous rafting experience is recommended.

Todd Boyce, a Clarksville, Tennessee, has come with his friends for seven years to experience this special whitewater rafting.

“The Gauley River is a legit adrenaline rush. No matter how many times you go down the Gauley it is never the same experience. You never know exactly what to expect, but it never lets you down,” he said.

Nearby towns are popular with tourists, who rave about the region’s mountainous scenic beauty both on and off the river.

Other popular outdoor activities include climbing, rappelling, fishing, biking, hiking and zip lining.

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