The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Cheat River

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Farmland in the Cheat River Valley at Saint George, WV

The Cheat River is formed by the junction of its Dry Fork and Shavers Fork at the town of Parsons, WV, in the Allegheny Mountains. There is a strong contrast between the tributaries: the drainage basin of the Dry Fork is fan-shaped while the Shavers Fork is long and narrow. The 1,380-square-mile basin of the Cheat drains portions of the following counties: Pocahontas, Randolph, Tucker, Barbour, Preston, and Monongalia, in West Virginia, Fayette, in Pennsylvania, and a small part of Garrett, in Maryland. The Blackwater River is also an important stream in the Cheat River drainage.

The Cheat River is a popular whitewater rafting stream. Thousands of rafters and kayakers run its lower canyon in spring when snowmelt produces highly technical rapids. The Cheat is a popular boat fishing stream throughout the year. See: Whitewater Rafting in West Virginia

Cheat River

The Cheat River and its Shavers Fork rise in the northern part of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, and flows in a general northerly direction to join the Monongahela at Point Marion, Pennsylvania, near Morgantown, WV, one mile north of the state line.


Topo Map (Head)
Top Map (Mouth)

The Cheat River's head is in the northwestern border of Pocahontas County, at an elevation of 4,000 feet above sea level, falling to 780 feet at its mouth.


The only important tributary of the Cheat proper is Big Sandy Creek which enters on the right bank in northern Preston County. The Big Sandy is a popular whitewater kayaking stream.

Name Origin

"Ach-sin-ha-nac" is said to be a Native American phrase, from the Delaware tribe, meaning "stony river."

Variant Names

Ach-sin-ha-nac, Achsinhanac, Cheal River, Chealt River, Eleat River, Wilmoths River