Shavers Fork is one of the 5 forks that make up the Cheat River. It begins in the Allegheny Mountains surrounding Snowshoe Mountain Resort in eastern West Virginia. The fork is nearly 90 miles long, forming the Cheat River at its confluence with the Black Fork. It’s the highest river in the eastern U.S., with its headwaters beginning at 4,000 feet.
What Makes It Great
Shavers Fork flows through the mountains and into the dense forests that are typical of eastern West Virginia. past a few small Appalachian towns like Cheat Bridge, Bemis, Bowden, and Porterwood. It even flows by the ghost town of Spruce, an old logging town that was settled in the early 1900s. The scenery along the Cheat is unrivaled, with a good part of the fork’s distance following along a mountain ridge at its higher elevations. There’s something beautiful at every curve and along every mile.
There are several different runs along Shavers Fork, which lead to the mouth of the Cheat River. All of the runs are well-traveled, and most will have at least a little challenge waiting for you.
There’s a 13-mile remote stretch from McGee Run to Bemis that is a constant Class III-V challenge, and it will take you most of a day to conquer. The beginning of the run straddles Class II and III rapids, but the pace picks up after you get to the High Falls of the Cheat— river-wide waterfalls with 15-20 foot drops. From here, you will find a stretch of Class III-IV rapids with boulder drop-offs.
If you put-in at Cheat Bridge, along U.S. Route 250, you’ll be on one of the highest river runs in the East, right around 4,000 feet in elevation. If you’re paddling south of the town of Bemis, the water calms down quite a bit, and while there’s no true flatwater, you do get a break to take in the surrounding scenery.
Those are just a couple of the more popular runs of several along Shavers Fork, although there are 6 runs to choose from.
Who is Going to Love It
There are different class levels all along Shavers Fork, with some sections that are great for novices, some for intermediates, and also some challenging Class III-IV rapids that last for more than a mile. Whether you’re looking for long runs or short runs, a less demanding Class II ride or a several-mile stretch of rocks, dropoffs, and high-class challenges, Shavers Fork has something for every skill level, especially intermediate and expert kayakers.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are several options for put-ins and take-outs along Shavers Fork, and most are very remote. American Whitewater put together a comprehensive list of runs with very detailed instructions to find the shuttle spots at the beginnings and ends.