Why should I raft with ACE?
ACE began in 1979 with the concept of combining safety, customer service and innovation. That unique combination has enabled us to remain the #1 outfitter on the New and Gauley rivers. We were featured on the Travel Channel as “North America’s Largest Adventure Resort.” Our guides are trained professionals from all walks of life, all of whom are certified, at a minimum, in First Aid and CPR, while many are also certified as Wilderness First Responders. ACE Adventure Resort is unmatched with its diverse array of adventure activities on site. ACE’s 1500-acre resort is home to a slew of awesome adventure activities including rock climbing, ATV tours, zip line tours, mountain biking, fishing, a mud obstacle course and team building. We offer many more water-based activities such as white water rafting, kayaking (rigid and inflatable) and stand up paddle boarding on local rivers and lakes. We can accommodate more guests than all of the other local outfitters combined with our array of rustic and deluxe lodging choices consisting of more than 40 Deluxe Cabins with hot tubs. Our rustic lodging selection includes 25 Cabin Tents, 5 Bunk Houses, 3 Ranch Houses, 3 Woodside Bunks, 10 Cedar Cabins and campsites galore.
Do you have restroom facilities?
ACE has eight shower or restroom facilities. We have over 70 showers on the property. ACE is the only outfitter to provide more than trees during lunch on the normal Lower New trip, the Lower Gauley and the Upper Gauley. Toilets are available at the put-in for the Lower Gauley and the Lower New. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains facilities at Summersville Dam. Toilets are available at the takeouts of all trips.
Do you have a store?
ACE’s Gear Shop is located next to the Big Top tent where you will be doing your trip check-in. They have anything you need or may have forgotten for your outdoor adventure. Camping supplies, t-shirts, sandals, drinks, sunscreen and sunglasses are just a few of the handy items you will find there. Ice and firewood are also available for purchase at our Welcome Center. Hours vary depending on the season.
Are there hidden costs?
At ACE, we are up front about the cost and getting what you pay for. Optional equipment (wetsuit rentals, for example) is considered extra and can be arranged at the time of your reservation. We also offer pre-pay services for our rafting videos to ensure your trip is on the video guide schedule. Photos are taken of every rafting trip and are available for purchase at the end of the day in our Outfitters’ Store.
Can I fly in?
Yes, there are three airports that offer major service to southern West Virginia and ACE Adventure Resort. The most popular is Yeager International Airport in Charleston, WV (airport code CRW for online searches). It’s about 75 minutes from ACE. Small planes can fly into Raleigh County Memorial Airport (airport code BKW) in Beckley, WV which is about 45 minutes from us. Greenbrier Valley Airport in Lewisburg, WV (airport code LWB) recently expanded its jet services to the area. All three airports offer car rental options. ACE also offers shuttle services to and from these airports – just book in advance when making your reservation. Fees vary depending on distance.
Is there a golf course nearby?
Bridge Haven (18 hole) is only a short drive away.
Can I fish?
Do you offer trip cancellation insurance?
No. Check with your insurance provider, you may consider some sort of vacation insurance that will cover additional risks.
Can I bring my dog?
Yes, ACE has a limited number of accommodations that can accommodate pets. There is a one-time, non-refundable $50 pet cleaning fee for up to 2 pets.
How close is the New River Gorge National Park and how close is the New River?
The ACE Adventure Resort is bordered by several thousand feet of New River shoreline and 251 acres of the center is located inside the park. The park’s main hiking and biking trail goes through our property.
What if I am late for my trip?
It depends. If you are late for a Fall Gauley trip you will probably forfeit your trip. We are usually able to accommodate you if you are late for the New River, but at times, you may forfeit that trip, also. In any case, the earlier we know there is an issue the more we can do to help your situation. For example, others may be late also and we may be able to put together a whole new trip, or we may be able to take you in at another access point.
What should I bring?
ACE provides all your river safety equipment…paddle, PFD and helmet. In addition to bringing your river clothes, you may want to bring a hat, sunscreen, old sneakers for the river, sunglasses, etc. You’ll need a change of clothes for after the trip, dry shoes, shampoo, towel, etc. Whatever you bring on the river WILL get wet! Do not take anything on the river that you do not want to lose!
Do you have firewood/charcoal?
ACE has firewood, charcoal and campfire starters available for purchase at the Welcome Center and the Store. Using locally sourced firewood lightens your packing load and helps stop the spread of harmful invasive insects that destroy tree populations.
What should I wear?
In warm weather, you won’t need more than a swimsuit, sneakers and a hat. You might bring a light windbreaker in case of rain. In cool weather, wear wool or synthetic clothing…these will keep you warm when they’re wet. Cotton WILL NOT keep you warm when it’s wet! Bring a couple of pairs of wool socks, a wool toboggan hat, and a nylon windbreaker. For extremely cold days, and for the Summer Gauley, ACE rents wet suits which will keep you warm in any weather. The most important thing to remember is not to wear anything made of cotton when the weather is cool.
What if the weather is bad?
All activities go regardless of weather unless we deem the conditions to be unsafe. A full raincheck for the activity will be made if we decide to cancel the trip. We rarely cancel trips. More often we move to another river or river section depending on water levels.
When should I arrive?
Your trip time is your DEPARTURE TIME! It’s very important that you arrive far enough ahead of your trip time to allow for breakfast, check-in, and/or wet suit rental. If you are not ready to go when your trip departs, you may miss the bus…and the trip. We recommend the following time allowances:
- Breakfast, check-in, and wet suit rental…..arrive 90 minutes prior to your trip time.
- Breakfast and check-in……………………………arrive 90 minutes prior to your trip time.
- Check-in and wet suit rental*…………………..arrive 60 minutes prior to your trip time.
- Check-in only (no breakfast)……………………arrive 60 minutes prior to your trip time.
- If you have a large group, they may need additional time to get ready, so plan accordingly.
*Wet suits are recommended for spring trips, fall trips and Summer Gauley River trips. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that guests arrive 60 minutes early for rafting check-in and 30 minutes for all other activities.
What should I do when I arrive?
Guests with lodging, camping, rock climbing, kayaking or other off river activities should check in at the Welcome Center. River trip guests should check in at the Check-in Pavilion. Stop in the Welcome Center if you are unsure of your check-in location.
I am going rafting on (some day soon), what will the weather be like and what will the river conditions be?
River and weather conditions vary from week to week and day to day. For up to date information watch the weather forecasts for West Virginia and the surrounding area.
What if someone does happen to get hurt?
We spare no expense in case of an injury, and we make every effort to ensure a safe trip. However, these are risk related activities and injury may occur to you or to your personal belongings. We do carry limited first aid supplies and are trained in first aid and CPR. We carry communication devices and can usually call for an evacuation if necessary. Costs of evacuation, especially via helicopter or ambulance, are the responsibility of the injured. We provide no medical or evacuation insurance.
Will we have to sign waivers?
Yes. Everyone will sign an unaltered waiver, or you won’t be permitted to go on the trip. Waivers almost identical to ACE’s have been upheld in the Federal Court in West Virginia and in the U.S. Southeast Court of Appeals. The waivers should be carefully read. The trip leader will explain any part of it that you may not understand. Minors must sign their own waivers, and both parents must also sign.
Is the trip safe?
While there is always inherit risk with any adventure activity, choosing an outfitter that has trained and experienced guides with up-to-date equipment is the key. It minimizes risk while giving you the greatest fun factor. Remember, too, that the New and Gauley rivers are wild rivers with many rocks and varying currents. Your guide is there to help keep you in the boat and direct you away from hazards. It is your responsibility to act on instructions provided by your guide. Make sure when booking your trip that you adhere to the age restrictions and suggested experience guidelines.
I can’t swim. Can I still go whitewater rafting?
Many of our guests can’t swim but everyone will be wearing personal flotation devices at all times while on the river. These Coast Guard approved devices are designed to float you face up.
Are your employees drug tested?
We actively drug test all employees engaged in safety related positions. All bus drivers and pre-employment guides are tested. Once on staff, all guides are subject to random drug testing.
Do you carry telephones?
Sometimes we carry cell phones, but we have found that two way radios are more effective. Several radio repeater towers have been installed for river usage and we operate over four of these towers. Cell phones do not yet provide the coverage of radios in the gorges.
What if I am pregnant?
We have taken pregnant women on the river but only with doctor’s consent. Women who are in an advance stage of pregnancy should not even think about going on the river.
I am in a wheelchair and have no use of my legs. Can I go?
Yes! We take several paraplegics each year. There is no reason you can’t enjoy rafting. Please let us know in advance, and let us know if you have other special requirements.
I am blind. Can I go?
Yes! It is best if you come with a group of friends. We have one blind guest that comes every year. You should arrange to go during normal flows. Avoid the high water in the spring.
Can you accommodate my medical condition?
Please reconsider your decision to come rafting if you have heart, lung or back problems, asthma (cold water is a severe hindrance to breathing), brain surgery, obesity, or osteoporosis or any bone weakening disease. Most other medical problems can be accommodated but you will be responsible for your own medication. We will not supply any medication including aspirin.
Are you licensed by the county or state?
ACE holds multiple licenses from the State of West Virginia for water activities and permits from the National Park Service for mountain biking and climbing. The county issues licenses (and inspections) for our kitchen and dining facilities, bathing beach, and camp ground. The State Alcoholic Beverage Commission regulates liquor or beer sales.
Can I just hold on?
Not on our normal trips. You will have a paddle and will be expected to work as part of the team. You will not have to paddle on our Cruise or fishing trips.
Will we have lunch on the river? Is the lunch hot?
We make every effort to make sure the lunch is a hot lunch. During a late summer trip, we may provide a refreshingly cool deli lunch. Summer Gauley are usually deli lunches. On normal days lunch, will be on the river – usually at one of our private riverside beaches. If the day is extremely cold, we will eat back at our heated dining facility or arrange to have a heated bus available near the lunch site. This is generally the case on trips like a Double Lower. If the day is cold but you really want to eat along the river just let us know.
Lunch on the Upper Gauley really sets us apart. We eat overlooking Sweets Falls. This is the premier rapid on the Upper Gauley and the action is sure to keep you entertained.
What are the age limits? Are there any other limitations?
Every activity at ACE has different age and size requirements because we put safety first. On the Upper New River, the minimum age is 6 years old. Youngsters must also be able to fit into a PFD – personal flotation device. The child’s chest must measure 24 inches to fit securely. Other rafting trips have increasing age limits based on level of difficulty.
Can my group stay together?
It depends. A group of seven on a normal trip will be in the same raft. In rare instances, when there are few people rafting, your group might have to be split even up the rafts. That is, for example, if we had a group of seven and a single individual, we would split the group of seven into three and four with the individual placed with the group of three.
Groups of eight or nine can go in a larger boat by advance special request. Larger groups will go together on the same trip. Groups of more than sixty will probably go in waves. That is a six raft group will leave every 15 minutes or so. This allows the group to eat lunch together and to arrange evening activities together. Groups of more than two but less than seven may be split up.
Will everyone have an oar?
An oar is about 9-feet long and used in pairs mainly for our float or fishing trips. No guests will have an oar. Most of our raft trips are paddle powered and everyone is expected to paddle. When you get fitted for your PFD and helmet, you will also get your paddle.
What if it snows six inches and is 32 degrees?
We go. However, we will attempt to contact you if extremely bad conditions are expected to arrange an alternative tripdate. We have a complete line of neoprene wetsuits booties, wetsuit and nylon jackets and a limited supply of gloves. For no extra charge we will outfit you in a second larger wetsuit. Lunch would be served after the trip in our heated dining facility.
Is there a photographer on every trip?
All our whitewater rafting trips are photographed by Whitewater Photography, a division of Leisure Sports Photography. They are an independent company and can be contacted at (304) 574-2338 – 8 x 10 photos of your trip will be available by the time you return to base.
Can I get a video of my trip?
Yes. By prepaying you are assured of getting your trip videoed. Most of our trips are videoed but a few are not. We have a limited number of video boaters and may not be able to cover every trip.
Can I bring my camera?
Only if it is waterproof and you are willing to risk losing it. We will not provide a waterproof container for it because all containers depend upon how well they seal and the seals frequently give way.
I have never taken off my wedding band and I won’t for this trip.
That is admirable but perhaps foolish. Fingers shrivel after a day of paddling and rings often do fall off. If you must wear your wedding band, please tape over it so it won’t fall off. No jewelry should be worn. Contact lenses can also be lost.
Can you accommodate my group size?
We can handle groups up to 600 guests before joining with another outfitter to help you. We have never heard of a group too large.
What size raft should I go in?
Most of our competitors go in sixteen foot long rafts. These rafts hold nine guests. Therefore the guest to guide ratio is 9:1. Our standard raft is a fourteen foot long raft that holds seven guests in a 7:1 ratio. The 7:1 ratio provides for better guest/guide interaction and the raft is more maneuverable. The 9:1 lowers the cost per guest by $5 per person. We have a fleet of these which have been designed for us but the better ride is in the 14 foot boat. If you have been before you can also book the 12 foot raft. You should understand that these 12 foot boats provide extreme trips and you are very, very likely to swim.
What kind of boats do you use?
Most of our rafts are fourteen foot, 8 chambered, self-bailing, rubber rafts. We have a fleet of sixteen foot, 9 chambered, self-bailing, rubber rafts to accommodate groups of 8 or 9 that want to stay together and for those desiring a milder trip. For those extreme types among you, we have twelve foot, 7 chambered, self bailing, rubber rafts. These are much less stable and many flips occur in these. These give the maximum action. We also have duckies which are generally four chambered individually powered inflatable kayaks.
Can I go in a ducky?
On some trips. Duckies are illegal on the Lower New River and on the Upper Gauley above a flow of 1100 cubic feet per second. Duckies are legal on the mild Upper New and on our Summer Gauley trips at lower flows. While 10 year olds can go on the Upper New in their own ducky, you should be in extremely good shape to go on the Summer Gauley. This is the country’s best and most exciting ducky trip.
Can I request a particular guide?
Yes, and the request should be made at the time the reservation is made. Remember that many of our guides have the same first name and that our reservationists do not know all the guides. Also, some guides are requested more than a year in advance. On some occasions, the earliest request might not be honored. For example, we have some groups that have been going with the same guide for years and they have developed an understanding between them.
What will my trip time be and what does that mean?
The trip time is the time that the bus pulls out from the departure point with you on it. We can tell you what your trip time will be on most New River trips when you make your reservation. We have set departure times for almost all New River trips. For example on normal days the Double Lower (aka New Times Two) will be at 9:05.
Because the Fall Gauley operates under a state imposed quota system, we must try to accommodate the most guests by grouping them together to best fit the rafts and buses, which means your trip time may vary. Some trips will always go at the same time. For example the second day of a reverse overnight will always go at 9:30. Marathon trip go at 7:00, 7:30 or 8:00. Double Uppers go at 7:00 or 7:30.
You have some latitude in requesting the trip time. We will try to honor your request to go early or late. Please let us know when you make the reservation if you must catch a plane or if you are flying in.
Do you have restroom facilities?
ACE has eight shower or restroom facilities. We have over 70 showers on the property. ACE is the only outfitter to provide more than trees during lunch on the normal Lower New trip, the Lower Gauley, and the Upper Gauley. Toilets are available at the putin for the Lower Gauley and the Lower New. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains facilities at Summersville Dam. Toilets are available at the takeouts of all trips.