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Difficulty I-II
Length 4.9 Miles
Flow Range 100 - 4000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 58 minutes ago 9.62 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 05/11/2005 4:59 pm

River Description

Virginia Whitewater, Roger Corbett; also Ed Grove

The first part of this trip, over the fall line, is the only good whitewater on Accotink Creek, but to get to the putin is a challenge. Go to the end of Ward Park Lane (off Yarwood Court, off Fullerton Road), drive to the back of the trucking company (they were friendly when I did this), and unload your boat. After you park back on Yarwood Court, you must take your boat down a steep slope that drops 70 feet. Wear gloves, to avoid both thorns and rope burns (as you play out the painter), and angle upstream where the gradient is somewhat less.
Your reward is a series of rock gardens and ledges in close succession, through a pretty gorge. The best rapids, which are class II, are the rock garden and the ledge visible looking upstream from Fullerton Road. The second one-third mile, below Fullerton Road, is not quite as lively as the first, and after that the creek is flat with occasional riffles. As you paddle alongside the power line, a pair of small ledges (that mark an old road) produces minor hydraulics. The scenery is excellent through the gorge, especially when the wisteria are in bloom in mid-spring, but deteriorates afterwards. If you are interested just in white water, take out at Alban Road, after 1.4 miles.
A quarter mile below Alban Road, you pass beneath I-95 (which you can hear from the put in, despite the noise barriers). Don't miss the excellent graffiti painting of a juggler/acrobat. The creek winds between low gravel banks, with some braiding and fallen trees to work your way around and through. You are likely to see blue herons and Canada geese. The gradient to Telegraph Road, at 1.4 miles, is just 7 feet/mile. The class II ledge at the bridge is excellent for surfing. Below there, the gradient picks up to 20 feet/mile, expended through a series of long riffles, before slowing down again. (Corbett warns not to paddle below Telegraph Road, because you would be going through the military�s Davison Airfield, but the airfield boundaries have changed and there is no problem anymore.) The take out on upstream river right at US 1 is muddy, but it is only a short carry/drag to a parking area. Below US 1, it is 1.2 flat miles down to Accotink Bay.

Ed Evangelidi testifies:
This creek is normally run as three sections: from just below King Arthur Rd. to Lake Accotink, from below Lake Accotink to Ft. Belvoir and again from below the restricted part of Ft. Belvoir to tidewater. However, it is easy to combine the upper two sections by paddling scenic Lake Accotink and portaging the dam. It is not clear if the lower section, which also runs through part of Ft Belvoir, is currently open or restricted by new security measures. The upper reaches of Lake Accotink are popular with birdwatchers in flatwater boats.

Rapid Descriptions


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Bill Kirby
14 years ago

Everything I said last year about the Engineer Proving Ground changing hands to the County is OBE (Overtaken By Events). The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process identified the EPG as prime re-development space for Army expansion. So, instead of becoming park land, the EPG is about to become home to a number of highly secure installations. As of now, Feb 06, the EPG is in a mostly abandoned condition, but some time this year the fences will go up. Get those quasi-legal runs in while you can; these may be the last in our lifetimes.

If you do run the creek, stay away from the section below Telegraph Rd, near the airfield. That is a very sensitive area, and the MPs will hunt you down.

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Bill Kirby
15 years ago

The Engineer Proving Ground is still in Army hands, but the whole EPG is slated for conveyance from the Army to Fairfax County for development as soon as they finish removing the unexploded ordnance on the site. VDOT is finishing up plans for extending the Fairfax County Parkway across a portion of the EPG, with a new bridge over Accotink

So, while there has been no formal relaxation of restrictions on boating the creek, it appears that the EPG may be open in fact. I have driven in on Cissna Road from Backlick Rd. to the bridge several times recently and have not been challenged. The reach below Telegraph Road, inside the base near the airfield, is still very much closed.

The stretch through the EPG has nice ledges and boulder garden drops in a miniature canyon. It could be a great Falls Line run if the access issues are cleared up.

P.S. The photos of the waterfall above are on the wrong page. That's Scott Run.

Gage Descriptions

Ed Evangelidi testifies:
A rough gauge for running this creek would be Goose Creek at Leesburg @ 3� or look at the rapids behind home plate just south of Little River Turnpike & I-495 or the rapid at the base of Lake Accotink Dam. Either rapid should be cleanly runnable.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



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Attention Virginia Boaters!

Jason Robertson

During the high waters of Spring 2003, there has been a noticeable increase in reported confrontations between boaters and property owners in Virginia. Please remember to be respectful and courteous to property owners; do not trespass; and avoid confrontation in order to preserve access in the future.

Stephen J. Ettinger


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191679 05/11/05 Stephen J. Ettinger n/a