Shenandoah, S. Fork, Virginia, US
Bixler's Bridge (Route 675) to Bentonville (Route 613)
||I-II (for normal flows)
Virginia Whitewater, Roger Corbett
Comment by a paddler / reader: I just ran an 11 mile section of this river yesterday. Put in was by
the low water bridge near Luray, VA. We stayed at the campground run by Shenandoah River
Outfitters. It's a good group and if you don't have two cars they will shuttle you for $20 a boat.
Camping was $6.00 a night. The river was nice, about 2 ft over normal. I have run this section
before and it normally takes about 4 - 5 hours, depending on how much play you do. The river was
very clear. I could watch the shadow of my boat in some sections. It was also running a little bit
faster than normal. The trees were turning colors and it was a crisp, sunny day. The normal small
ripples were a little bigger today, but nothing difficult. Compton's Rapid was nice, just big
enough to do a little surfing in. All in all an enjoyable day.
Ed Evangelidi testifies:
One of the classic novice runs in Virginia. Lots of small ledgy rapids and great scenery. The
fearsome Compton Rapid (Cl 2) is spotted when you come to a nice rock outcrop on the right, a
view of elevated train tracks in the gap below that and, as the river turns slightly left, a much
bigger rock outcrop below and to the right. You might also find lots of spectators enjoying the
boating mishaps here. The problem is that novice boaters can only run a rapid straight on and the
rapid demands a turn in most choice of routes. Then if the boaters start to take on water in the
upper part, they enter a wave train that will often swamp a canoe. Scout your route and donÂt
sit up on a canoe seat. Bring scuba tanks to recover lots of watches, bottles of sunscreen, etc.
at the bottom of the rapid. There is one other rapid further down with a surprise low horizon
line that is not much of a problem if you spot it in time and pick a route. Approach the
low-water Bentonville takeout bridge with caution if it is high water. The South Fork Shenandoah
is also popular with some marathon distance paddlers who like the stretch from Elkton to Karo
Landing (below Bentonville) because of its good flow at moderate levels.
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Last Updated: 2002-07-16 08:02:28