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Difficulty II-III
Length Miles
Gauge RAPIDAN RIVER NEAR CULPEPER, VA
Flow Range 3.50 - 7.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 28 minutes ago 2.24 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 06/19/2009 3:58 pm

River Description


Virginia Whitewater, Roger Corbett

The Conway and its nearby sibling the Upper Rapidan are Class III whitewater runs that start at the Shenandoah National Park boundary. Both rivers suffered extensive damage in the 1995 flood and were essentially "rebuilt", which means they were cleared of debris and a new cobbled river bed was created for them. Due to the gradient in the upper sections of these rivers, this makes for a pretty exciting start.

The Conway starts with a very steep section above Kinderhook that should be carefully considered before run. This section can be scouted from Rt. 667, which runs alongside the upper part of this stream.

To run just the best and steepest 5 miles, take out at Rt. 230. Below 230, the river is a Class II that also requires you to run 5 miles of the calmer Rapidan to the Rt. 29 takeout. There is a dangerous low head dam just above Rt. 29 on the Rapidan that should be portaged left.

 

Notes  06/19/09 :The upper section above Kinderhook was barely runnable at 7' on the Rapidan gauge.  This gauge is 13 miles downstream after the confluence of the Rapidan and the Conway and is not reliable for the section above 230.  This little valley is very hit or miss on water levels.

 

This upper section is good fun, with a lot of 50' to 75' boulder garden sections between small pools in a step gradient.  Be aware that above the Pocosin confluence there is a low water concrete bridge that could be a keeper hole if water is flowing over it.

 

Between the Circle Road bridge and Route 230 the gradient lessens and strainers abound, as does kudzu, poison ivy, and cow fields. Pick your channels well here as the channels are tight and many strainers can be found just after turns.   There are, however, a couple nice ledges hidden in this section, including a 5'  double ledge with a line far left and a technical line far right that involves dropping the first ledge into a narrow crease and punching a hole.

 

Below Route 230 the river evens out nicely and there is less bushwacking to contend with.  There are several class II+ ledge drops in here, some nice small surfing waves and abundant wildlife.  I'd reccommend this section for beginners iwth the exception of one s-turn ledge that tried to eat my paddle.  This ledge can be snuck river right.

 

The low head dam is just past the water tank that sits on on river right, it is really nasty looking but can be snuck far river left.  if you have any doubts, walk it.

Rapid Descriptions

First rapid

Class - N/A Mile - 0.2

Typical boulder strewn drop

 

 

unnamed rapid 2

Class - N/A Mile - 0.3

Watch for the pine tree strainer here

unnamed #3

Class - N/A Mile - 1

Nice double ledge beside the road - watch out for the strainer river right beside the big ole boulder

Unnamed #4

Class - N/A Mile - 4

Nice 4' double ledge between the Circle road bridge and the rte 230 bridge

Comments

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Chris Moyles
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13 years ago

Scouted April March 2005- Several strainers up high.

Gauge Description


Also refer to the rain/streamflow gauges for this area. The Rt. 29 gauge is located near the Rapidan river takeout.

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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.

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No Accident Reports

Alerts

   

News

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Attention Virginia Boaters!

2003-04-24 00:00:00-04
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.
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Chris Moyles

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Michael Rose