Cedar Creek - 2 - Route 55 to Route 11


Cedar Creek, Virginia, US

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2 - Route 55 to Route 11

Usual Difficulty I-II (for normal flows)
Length 20 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
CEDAR CREEK ABOVE HWY 11 NEAR MIDDLETOWN, VA
usgs-01635090 300 - 5000 cfs I-II 8y207d20h43m 21 cfs (too low)
CEDAR CREEK NEAR WINCHESTER, VA
usgs-01634500 200 - 1600 cfs I-II 00h59m 145 cfs (too low)


River Description

Cedar Creek is a classic VA novice trip with some mild Class II rapids scattered along its length. The lower part of this 20 mile run is somewhat more interesting, as it has slightly bigger rapids and some scenic features such as caves and a waterfall or two.

There is a low water bridge at roughly the 10 mile point that can be used as a takeout for the top half or a putin for the bottom half. Keep in mind that although this is a pretty mellow river, 10 miles is a long way to go so give yourself plenty of daylight.

The takeout at Rt. 11 provides ample parking and a chance to check some differing RC gauges as described above.

There is a low water bridge about a mile above Rt. 11 that creates a Class II rapid and which can be run right. The best rapids on the river are located here and right below.

On a recent trip there was an incredible profusion of Virginia Bluebells. There are also a series of scenic cliffs that dominate most of river left and sometimes on the right. These cliffs are full of caves, including short one that you can paddle through.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2005-05-25 19:24:20

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.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
November 21 2016 (519 days ago)
john dukeDetails
The run from the low water bridge to Rt 11 is 12.9 miles. This may be why it seems a long 10 miles.
May 7 2011 (2544 days ago)
BillinVa (152977)
Ran the same section on April 30th 2011as my previous comment. Wood/strainers above Middle Road
bridge (1st highway bridge below 623 low water bridge put in) had actually been cleared out more by
recent high water. Defunct low water bridge once again has changed due to recent high water. More
flow is now being sucked under the old structure and the collection of debris has shifted. This
bridge is probably the most dangerous feature on the creek simply because the debris on it changes.
No other river wide strainers were on this stretch although a few new ones were laying in the water
at an angle. Just be aware of the possibility of wood as you go down.
May 1 2011 (2551 days ago)
BillinVa (152977)
Recent trip (April 15th 2011) comments. We put in at the Route 623 low water bridge (10-12 miles
above Route 11 wayside in two wavesport diesel kayaks. The level at the Route 11 wayside was a
little over ½ ft on the painted gage on the north piling of the southbound lane. You have to walk
under the bridge and look at the piling on the upstream side to see the gage. The gage is painted
too high as there was plenty of water and even if the level was down another 6 inches there
probably would have been enough water. There is also another painted gage on the south piling of
the same bridge but one out of wack gage is confusing enough so I ignored the other. From the low
water bridge to the 1st highway bridge is primarily riffles with some swift water in-between.
Nothing in this above class 1. This entire section is a good section for novices to get some moving
water experience and it is a pretty float. Just before the 1st highway bridge is a logjam (noted in
another comment) but I believe it has been substantially reduced from the time of the previous
comment. We did not have to portage as we weaved through a narrow gap on the extreme left. The
water is deep here and has current so be cautious. Below the 1st highway bridge there are mild
class 2 rapids periodically with a mix of swift and a few sections of flat water thrown in. Some of
the rapids are delightful at this level and there are opportunities for practicing eddy turns and
ferrying. Nothing struck me as more than mid class 2. Two rapids of note; one where the creek
swings mildly R-L-R with a high eroded bank on the left (his is a nice wavetrain that is
enjoyable), the second is a right turn with two large boulders on the outside edge but they sit
into the center of the flow. Someone with poor boat control could pile into the one farthest out.
Eventually you will pass under a second highway bridge and after the second substantial cleared
path powerline (that I remember) you will be getting close a defunct low water bridge. The approach
is slow flat water so it should not surprise you. This bridge has so much debris piled on it. It
took me a minute to recognize it. 25+ years ago we use to go underneath the bridge. At this level
there was one possible run through the middle over a spot where the bridge had collapsed and formed
a V trough. Most of the flow piled through a breech on the far right side of the bridge. This is a
vigorous drop with a chunk of concrete sitting in the main flow with its downstream edge propped
up. I did not run either of these but at this level the far right looked to be a strong class 2.
Since I didn't run it I don't want to comment too much but its nature is above all of the other
rapids to this point in the run. Rebar makes me nervous so we portaged river left. My advice is to
always approach this old bridge cautiously as the debris could shift and change the conditions.
After the defunct bridge the nature of the stream changes for a short distance. The rapids are
closer and slightly stronger than above but still class 2. A short distance below the defunct
bridge is a river wide ledge that had a sticky hydraulic. Again someone with poor boat control or
just not paying attention could be surprised and flip. After the ledge, on a fast water left turn
are two boulders splitting the stream into small thirds. I've seen a canoe wrapped on the first
boulder from the left. Again, only class 2 but it comes up quickly after the ledge. Soon you'll see
the railroad trestle and then some caves on river left. From here the rapids drop back to class
1-ish. All the way down this stream you should be vigilant for trees(strainers) in the water. On
this day we did not find any river wide strainers but there were some sticking out a third of the
way into the streambed. One old cedar (I believe below the defunct bridge) messes up a fun river
right drop. This is at a spot where the river splits through an island. The trip took us 4.5 hours
at this level but we did not stop for rapid play or exploring anything. Much of the land is posted
and we really just wanted to check the stream out for bringing some other new boaters along. I
highly recommend this run for novices and patient higher skilled boaters. Additionally the Virginia
Bluebells and wildlife were plentiful and beautiful.
April 27 2006 (4380 days ago)
John SundaDetails
My family canoed the lower 12 mile section of Cedar Creek on 4-23-06 starting at the low water
bridge. There is a log jam blocking the channels around the large limestone rocks in midriver at
the cool rock formations and waterfall/old mill, 2 miles downstream just above the Rt 628 bridge.
After scouting it we found that we could land on the left end of the jam in the main channel drag
our boats overtop and relaunch from a well placed log in swift current just downstream. We walked
our dog around the left side. Alternatively, we could have, with great difficulty, dragged our
canoes around the left side of the rocks. There was a sizeable eddy/landing spot on the left above
the first rock. In other words you can get over or around it but this is no place for novices. No
other obstructions were encounterred. The water level was perfect and the current was swift but the
painted guage at the Rt 11 takeout appears to read too low as it read .25 ft when we set shuttle
and 0 when we took out but there was plenty of water. The guage at the low water bridge putin was
more accurate as it read 0.75 ft. The USGS hydrograph indicated the the guage near the takeout
dropped from 3.4 to about 3.2 during our trip. I've done the run at levels as low as 2.8 but it
gets a little scrapy with much slower current.
March 20 2006 (4418 days ago)
Craig CookDetails
One of the coolest things about this trip is the awsome waterfall on the left just a mile or so
from the put in...you can actually paddle behing the waterfall. We were accompanied by otters in
this stretch who would spook the hell out of you by just poppin up right beside your boat! The easy
but fun class II rapids come in sucession....I don't remember any long stretch's of flat water at
all. You DO want to start this trip pretty early if you have a long drive home because despite the
moving water it's long haul...especially if you make stops for lunch, checking out the caves etc.


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