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Difficulty II-III
Length Miles
Flow Range 175 - 3500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 20 minutes ago 26 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 06/05/2009 8:36 pm

River Description

This is a a great little creek with multiple 2' to 3' ledge drops and a lot of rock gardens, it is very tight so be prepared to make tiny eddies to boat scout.

1' to 3' are great levels. 3' is pushy on such a small creek with constant strainer possibilities.  About 300 yards above the take out there is a great surf hole.


Virginia Whitewater, Roger Corbett or Classic Virginia Rivers, Ed Grove

The Rock Mills takeout can also be used for whitewater sections of the Rush and Thornton. The Thornton requires substantially less water than the Rush.


Ed Evangelidi testifies:
This creek is also runnable well above US 211. There is a nasty cattle fence under the Rte. 622 bridge, so most like to put in here. Note a painted gauge here. Most want about 3Â to avoid painting too many rocks going downstream. The major rapid is a narrow tweeze between boat length rocks. The upstream rock on the left blocks a straight shot through the rapid, the downstream rock on the right forces you to turn left just above it and another rock just downstream and to the left requires an immediate downstream turn around the rightmost rock. This is a hard Class-3 move for short boats and a Houdini move for large tandem boats. Very easy to pin here. At high water there is a Class-2 sneak on the right that can also be used as a portage route in low water. The rest of the run is a mix of Class-2 rapids. If the creek is a little too low, try the nearby Thornton River.

Rapid Descriptions


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Mike Martin
1 year ago

Here’s the latest strainer for the Covington. I paddled the Covington from the Rt. 6222 put in to Rock Mills with 4 other Blue Ridge Voyagers Canoe Club members on Aug. 5 after a deluge made the Battle Run USGS gauge hit 2,000 CFS around 2 a.m. It had been wet all week and the gauge had dropped to 500 by 8:00 and, and everything in the area was running high and after heavy rain the night before. We finally put on around 1 pm with an estimated 10” of water and fell to about 3” by 5:00. Anyhow, we had been warned* about a dangerous strainer around a blind corner where the river makes a sharp turn to the right due to a cliff on river left. It may be visible from the tiny, one boat eddy on the left-side eddy just above the turn. I marked the landing/portage point on river right (an easy drag around) with hot pink plastic streamers like surveyors use. The strainer in question is medium sized pine tree that can be cut with a chain saw, and the dangerous branches that point down into the water could be removed with hand saws at low water. The strainer is located about 500 yards above the first bridge. This strainer is a deadly trap for anyone who winds up in it, so heads up to anyone who runs the river while it remains there. The other obstructions were easily visible by eddy-hopping. Tip: Don’t crowd your probe or the boat in front of you. Logs bar the usual route at Volkswagen Rock. The rapid was runnable by setting up on river left and ferrying across right above the main log. One of our group made the move; one swam under the log, while the rest of us opted for an easy drag around. Another strainer further downstream required a short drag around; We fit under two limbo logs with no problems for open boaters, and had a few tight squeezes . What a joy is was to run this gem in August sunshine! *Thanks to Bharris for his 6/24 report here and to BRV members Ron Knipling, Jenny Thomas, and Jim Long and others who sent descriptions from their trips earlier after I put proposed the trip to the BRV and CCA email lists.

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Chris Moyles
10 years ago

Gauge was wrong, but is now calibrated to Battle Run, a nearby, comparable watershed; however, when rainfall is spotty, there are no assurances. Note: This gauge is on a much smaller stream on the other side of a ridge - email: if you want a level check, i live nearby. It has only run (barely) once in 2009.

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chris moyles
14 years ago

Run Nov. 29th and 30th 2005-
One big log right at the top of the VW drop-
Can sneak right or boof left (if you are a bit crazy -very tight sequence!


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Chris Moyles
14 years ago

Run March 28-2005 at 1 foot marker at put in-
One three-log strainer 400 yards above Hunter's Mill bridge. Will try to clear it this week.

Gage Descriptions

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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.

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.

Michael Rose


Chris Moyles


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191716 04/09/08 Michael Rose n/a
1195335 06/05/09 Chris Moyles
1195336 06/05/09 Chris Moyles