Passage Creek - Elizabeth Furnance to Waterlick (Route 55)


Passage Creek, Virginia, US

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Elizabeth Furnance to Waterlick (Route 55)

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 40 fpm
Max Gradient 60 fpm

First rapid


First rapid
Photo by Chris B taken 09/20/04 @ 250cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
PASSAGE CREEK NEAR BUCKTON, VA
usgs-01635500 200 - 5000 cfs II-III 00h23m 203 cfs (running)
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.


River Description

Passage Creek drains a very beautiful and narrow gorge between two spine-like Massannutten Mountains in Virginia. The creek offers a fairly straightforward introduction to running small streams. The rapids are primarily Class II in nature, with two blind rapids that approach Class III.

The run begins with Class I-II and fastwater as you exit leave the day-use area at Elizabeth Furnace. The first major drop occurs at a right hand bend. Scouting is advisable because of the propensity to pick up strainers. (Of course, strainers may be encountered anywhere along this creek.) The rapid occurs where the creek first comes back near the road, narrowing down into a left to right chute. You can scout from a vegetation and tree choked island on river right. Another major drop occurs at the Out Of Sight rapid as the creek veers away from the road again. This is best run by eddying out first on the right and picking a line through the rocky set of drops.

Below the gorge section is a dam backing up water for a nearby fish hatchery. The dam may be runnable on the far left. Scout or portage from small river left trail above the dam. Shortly below here, one can take out at the Fish Hatchery Road bridge for a short run that can be easily repeated.

The rest of the run is Class I-II with some braiding of the stream into small channels around islands. Strainers are almost always lurking in this section in fast current.

Ed Evangelidi warns:
"Use caution at Rte. 55, as many of the landowners there are fed up with boaters. If you park on private property there without permission, you might find that your vehicle has been removed to who knows where. The owner downstream river right is convinced that he owns the river.

By the way, the section from Rte. 55 to the confluence with the N. Fk. Shenandoah is every bit as pleasant as the stretch above Elizabeth Furnace but requires less water to run (-3” at Rte. 55). Use caution below the fish hatchery, where there is a gravel bar on the right and an elbow bend on the left where the water often goes under, around & through large strainers. Use the gravel bar to scout or portage. Below this, look for a small channel that goes left. This side channel is almost always better than the strainer-prone right side main channel.

Ryan Emanual and others, including myself, can also testify:
"When it's open, Christina's Mexican Cantina in Strasburg is a great place for post-run provisions and refreshment."


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2005-04-01 11:25:37

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

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