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Old 06-12-2005   #1
Spits Hot Fire
N. Cascades, Washington
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 978
Virginia ?'s

Yoyoyo, I'm heading to Virginia next month for a few days. Anyone know any must-hit places near the Blue Ridge Mtns.? Any sort of info would be helpful-rivers, scenic places, hiking, camping, all that....


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Old 06-12-2005   #2
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ToddG's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 475
depends on where you'll be ...

at all costs, make the trip to fayetteville, wv. could be a long-ish drive -- the "blue ridge" covers a pretty huge area -- but it'll be worth it .. 'specially since they're getting precip.

if you're farther north, you could surf the shenandoah if it's running. huge surf waves under the bridge, epic. & of course, the potomac is always running (DC). & while you're there -- if you're there, that is -- you might as well cruise over & hit the upper yough in friendsville. if you're near richmond, you could play on the james, which is super good when there's water, but there has to be good water to make it worth it. if you're near blacksburg, you can get on the forks of the tye & bottoms cr if it's been raining. bottoms is the shit -- you'll need a guide.

not knowing where you'll be, it's tough to say. best bet is to find a way to get to fayetteville. once there, you'll figure it out .. & you'll be very stoked.

this is my old 'hood, so feel free to hit me up on email for more specific info.


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Old 06-13-2005   #3
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 122
It depends on what kinds of rivers you want to run. I think ToddG covered them all. I second the motion for Fayetteville, WV (New
River and the Gauley), and I LOVE the upper yough in Friendsville, MD (western maryland, class 4/5) though I've only run it in a raft.

I hear great things about the section of the Potomad below Great Falls- class 3/4 I think? I haven't run it yet.

You're talking about my old hood too (grew up in Maryland) though I was not kayaking yet when I was there. I did raft a bunch though.

Have fun over there!
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Old 06-13-2005   #4
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 26
Great suggestions, the upper yough, the cheat, rock creek and you should hit the potomac, if you feel up to it great falls is a good time. If you dont want to run the falls then put in just below and enjoy, nice park on the virginia side. most of the boaters there are friendly and could offer advise on local creeks and rivers.
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Old 06-13-2005   #5
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 67
Actually, most of the folks I've met down in the DC area are quite stand-offish, and not very helpful. I experienced this on almost every visit down there! Below the falls, is all good play boating. If you running the falls, be very very careful, it is an extreamly deceptive river.

The Upper Youg runs every Mon & Fri, and the 1st Sat of every month. The Lowwer Yough, is only a 20mins away and runs every day. Class II play boating!
The Potomac (Harpers Ferry) and the Shanandoa are good play, but we need some rain to get really good.
Fayetteville, WV is your best bet right now.

KEEP YOU EYES ON THE WAETHER CHANNEL, .....this ain't no CO terrain
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Old 06-13-2005   #6
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 56
Where will you be staying and what kind of boating are you looking for? Todd G nailed most of the stuff. Serious creeking will be rain dependant, but if you're up for it, the Blackwater runs quite a bit, although we haven't got much precip in a while. Give me a shout if you want 703-943-6770 or email I work weekends, so I only get to boat during the week. I know the Upper Yough pretty well.
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Old 06-13-2005   #7
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 163
Head to the Little Sandy diner\truckstop on I-68 early morning on the weekend. It's on the north side of the highway in WV, the last exit before MD border. I think it's exit 23 or 29. There's only a couple exits between Morgantown and Maryland border, you can't miss it.

Anyway, that's the meeting place for Big Sandy, Cheat Canyon, U. Yough and pretty much anything else that's running in the area. For U.Yough you can also go to the takeout bridge that crosses the river in Friendsville. YOu can check AW's release calander and WV and MD rivertools for water levels.

Might consider picking up a copy of Appalachian Whitewater. Old but very good guide book.
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Old 06-13-2005   #8
Spits Hot Fire
N. Cascades, Washington
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 978
word, thanks for the all the info. I'm takin notes. I'll only be there a few days probably staying in or around richmond but will probably try to make a trip to Fayatteville.
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Old 06-13-2005   #9
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
One other thing - out east, there is real rain, so plan your travel according to that. The hurricane season is shaping up to be a big one, so there may be better water further south. If you get the chance to do it, the Watauga is the sweetest creek I've ever done and is worth the 300 miles. It has some relatively good gradient and a couple of soft (at most levels) class Vs but for the most part is low-stress, but solid class IV wilderness creeking. There are about a thousand boofs in the five miles and you can easily lap it. On the boof-o-meter, I think it's even more fun than the Narrows of the Green. Plus you can always tag along with the college kid who run it 3-4x a day and get beat and a shuttle.

Also, if you wanna huck big-time or run the hair, the Watauga is right by the Elk, which has some biiiiig (read: LVM-size) waterfalls.

I think Southeast Whitewater by Monte Smith is out of print, but that is a great guidebook for the area (notwithstanding the fact that he's an open boater who seems to think that class III+ means "experts only"). If you fused the kind of smart beta and sheer amount of useful info in that guide with the cosmetics of CRC, you'd have the ultimate guidebook.
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Old 06-14-2005   #10
Charc in = charc out
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Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 475
Just do eet. Richmond > Fayetteville = approx 4 hrs. Watch out for VA Highway Patrol ... bastards. And county sherriffs btw Beckley & F'ville .. baaaastards.

If you enjoy class V & it's running, you gotta do the lower meadow. If you enjoy hard class V & it's running, you gotta do mann's cr. Pretty much the best creek ever made. Otherwise, just stay on the new & the gauley. the upper g. is fun even at low flows. Watch out for copperheads & rattlesnakes on the rocks on the g.

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