Upper Mash Rapid

Upper Mash Rapid on the Gauley River in West Virginia

After passing through Junkyard Rapid, the river calms for nearly two miles into moving flat water broken up by numerous little riffles. At the halfway point in this stretch of water, an old railroad trestle spans the river. You'll want to stay clear of the bridge pilings because of the exposed metal at their bases. Some of it is visible and some is not. Peter's Creek has it's confluence with the Gauley River just upstream of the trestle. Aside from the extra water that it contributes, the creek also brings an active railroad into the gorge that follows the right side of the river downstream until well past the takeout. It may serve as your only means of walking out from this uninhabited and rugged canyon as there is only one other point of access between the railroad bridge and Swiss. Upper and Lower Mash are located about a mile downstream of this bridge where the river pools up and takes a sharp bend to the left.

The scattering of small shallow boulders that choke this rapid arguably make it the most technical on the river. There are almost as many ways to get through as there are to get hung up. The right side of the rapid is too shallow and narrow for rafts to navigate until somewhere above 4000 cfs. If entering and navigating from river left, beware of the large undercut rock on the right side of the channel. You'll also want to watch for a bad pinning rock at the bottom of the rapid. It can be easily avoided both to the left and the right.

View Aerial Images of Upper Mash Rapid

Upper Mash Rapid at 2800 cfs