Whitewater rafting rapids are categorized by their degree of difficulty. Rapids can be categorized in 1 of 6 degrees, 1 being beginning rapids and 6 being classified as dangerous. You can read more about this here: Types of whitewater rafting rivers and who should attempt them.
Both the New River and the Gauley River are divided into two sections for the purposes of paddling trips. Each section is about as long as a typical day of whitewater rafting. On the upper section of the new river, a paddler can find rapids from class I to III. That makes this section ideal for a beginner or a paddler looking for a relaxing ride down the river.
The Lower New River features rapids up to class IV+. This section is more intense than the upper part and is more suited for intermediate paddlers. Some of the rapids have earned names such as “The Keeneys”, “Double Z,” and “Greyhound Bus Stopper.”
The Gauley River is regarded as more intense than the New River. You can read my post about the Upper Gauley vs. Lower Gauley for more info. In the upper section of the Gauley, you can ride rapids up to class V such as “Pillow Rock”, “Lost Paddle”, and “Sweet’s Falls.” This is probably the most difficult section of river serviced by rafting companies.
The Lower Gauley is less challenging than the upper section and features Rapids from class II to IV. These rapids have names like “Koontz Flume,” “Diagonal Ledges,” and “Pure Screaming Hell.” These exciting rapids can create a lot of fun for intermediate to expert paddlers.