Dan - 0.3 Kibler Valley Power Plant to Claudville

Dan, Virginia, US


0.3 Kibler Valley Power Plant to Claudville (Kibler Valley)

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 11.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 35 fpm
Max Gradient 75 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02068500 200 - 2000 cfs I-III 00h55m 266 cfs (running)
Due to the release schedule and proximity of the gauge to the reach, correlations are difficult and unconfirmed. This gauge is around 20 miles below the run so there is a significant time lag as well as exaggerated flow rates due to additional tributaries.

River Description

The Kibler Valley is a popular summer tailrace run beginning at the Danville Powerplant downstream of Townes Reservoir.  While the water is plenty cold during generation, it is not shockingly frigid like the Nantahala or nearby Smith River.  Boaters are encouraged to call the powerplant (276-215-5141) for release schedule as there is rarely enough "freestone" water to paddle without a major precipitation event. (See flow and gauge info).  7500kW is considered a minimum by most local paddlers.

There are several nice whitewater features near the top, and the narrow boulder-laden channel provides a few strong eddy lines, hidden rocks, and tricky currents.  The river gradually gentles with each mile and significant rapids all but dissappear after 3 miles (4th bridge) under normal conditions.  The lower segments attract large numbers of both recreational paddlers and tubers, particularly during hot weekends when water is released.

While the road follows the river very closely on the upper half of this run, much of the riverbank property is prominently posted against trespass.  Please respect private property rights and only park in non-posted pulloffs. Paddler's can expect a mixed reception as some landowners will wave and smile while others think that paddling should be banned entirely on this stretch. Though the Danube Church is a well-known meeting spot, locals are requesting boaters not to keep vehicles in the parking lot.  Simply pull out and park on the shoulder.  -BLP Aug. 2014

As of June 2016, the "public" campsites are not available for use.

Eric O'Connell provides (2003-10-12):

I ran Dan "Creek", Saturday October 12 at 1:00. The Level was 152 CFS which is about 13cfs too low, however it still was a great class 2 with three rapids rating class 3. I took my girlfriend on this trip for her first river expedition and she had a blast. I recomend this trip for beginners and intermediates wanting to sharpen their skills. With a bit more water this would be a prime river run. I advise you to call before driving to see if the water level is sufficent to run the river. If so try it out and you will not be let down.

Put In: The Pinnacles Power Plant is very good at allowing boaters to park at their facility. They also know the river really well and can answer many questions about the trip. The first half mile in my opinion is the best, in fact we got out and ran that section twice. The road runs right along the river for the entire run and is very accessible.

100 yards from the put in is a good class 3 rapid that is easliy run from river right around two medium boulders that will flip you if given the opportunity. If you do get flipped there is a small pool below this rapid that you can roll before the next rapids.

Another 100 yards downstream there is a good class 3 rapid on river left that is run easily if you start river right and work river left. If is very fun and usually there are people on the bridge watching you blast the rapid.

From here you will take a 2 mile journey filled with fast, steady whitewater with two or three more good class 3 rapids. There were no hazards on my trip but still be cautious because this creek is very fast and there is little time to scout and very few places to relax. This is a very quiet creek and all the landowners are very polite and enjoy having our company, please be polite. (section removed, BLP 2016)


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-09-12 14:45:29


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.1(Pam's) RockgardenII
0.2Public Enemy # 2IIIPlayspot Photo
0.3(Sammy's) Boof RockIIPlayspot Photo
0.3Basketball FallsIIIPutin Playspot Photo
0.5Island RapidIIPlayspot
0.8Cabin RapidIPlayspot
1.1Seven StitchesIIPlayspot
3.7Junkyard HoleIPlayspot
4.1Danube ChurchN/ATakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Powerplant (Class N/A)

Main put-in during generation.  Gates are locked at night and no cars should be parked here.  Small parking spot just below gate.

Powerhouse (Class III, Mile 0.1)

1st significant rapid below the generation plant, under heavy tree cover, with a small trail leading to the road.  A small boulder in the middle of the rapid flips many inattentive paddlers and the right-side eddy line gets a few more. 

(Pam's) Rockgarden (Class II, Mile 0.1)

Powerhouse exits into a riffled run and this rapid is a mixed drop.  Approach from river-right and follow the main current through the middle.  Quickly angle left or right to miss the downstreamboulder.  A braided riffle below offers an easy place to regroup. 

Public Enemy # 2 (Class III, Mile 0.2)

Rapid above first Bridge

Rapid above first Bridge
Photo by Alyssa Taylor taken 05/19/09

Referred to simply as Public Enemy. This one comes up fast after a braided riffle. Easiest route begins in mid-channel and running slightly right of mid-current, but the eddy line is strong at times.  A more adventurous line is the far left line "slot", along the bank through small boulders.  Depending on flow, a quick right turn is needed to avoid boulders as this line has been responsible for a few boat pins.

(Sammy's) Boof Rock (Class II, Mile 0.3)

Boof above Basketball Falls

Boof above Basketball Falls
Photo of Garrick by Alyssa Taylor taken 05/19/09

Not really a standalone rapid, but noteworthy as a fun feature and small playspot.  To catch it, run far river right after the boulder jumble below the first bridge.  There is a big eddy with good service running along a low cliff face.  Decent for enders in short boats.  A wave forms mid-channel during most runnable flows.

Basketball Falls (Class III, Mile 0.3)


Photo by Brandon Levi taken 08/26/14

The is one everyone watches from the old basketball court.  Just below the boof rock, work towards the middle and shoot down the lower end of the rapid.  Good eddy on right side behind the boulder for rescue set-up or raft play.  To avoid flipping, simply angle left of the boulder and paddle hard.  Sliding into the rock on on accident pretty much guarantees a swim.  Folks wanting to avoid the bigger rapids can put-in here via a small trail.

Island Rapid (Class II, Mile 0.5)

Current is split by a large boulder on the upstream side of a small island.  Rapid at the bottom.  Left channel is deeper.  Rapid can be avoided by taking the right channel, though a little shallow.  A small surf ledge can be played in.

Cabin Rapid (Class I, Mile 0.8)

Below 2nd bridge. Popular playspot.

Seven Stitches (Class II, Mile 1.1)

Nice little wave to have fun in, just after the river opening under the powerline.  Named in "honor" of paddler Joanne Kizer who got a nice cut while playing in this spot back in '06.  The narrow right side riffled channel can be run during most generations.

Junkyard Hole (Class I, Mile 3.7)

Popular playspot behind Barnards store.  Named after the numerous old cars that used to be visible, all cleaned up now.  Last decent rapid before the main takeout.

Danube Church (Class N/A, Mile 4.1)

Please pull of the shoulder and avoid parking at the church (especially on Sundays).  Small trail leads into river-left calm eddy.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 19 2017 (509 days ago)
Rick SteevesDetails
It's a bit misleading to have the core description suggesting that at normal flows this river has
multiple Class III rapids. II+ maybe, but not III (or even III-).
January 21 2012 (2516 days ago)
x (1)
275 cfs is a very bumpy level. If you can hit this stream with full release augmented by flow
coming down the creek, I have heard that this is a lot of fun to run. Release for the 2007 Kibler
Valley River Run maxed out at approx 230 - 250 cfs. Way too low! Need more water!
January 11 2012 (2525 days ago)
x (1)
From Morgan Nunn. i live on Kibler Valley road and i love my river i own it. its mine. i will never
move away from my lifetime of tubing and swimming. this is my home. i know the hole Valley. when i
am there i am at peace. Kibler Valley My Home
May 18 2009 (3493 days ago)
Garrick TaylorDetails
Also, the stretch between the powerhouse and the first bridge is harder than the rest (Class III-).
Those without a combat roll should put in at the parking lot below the first bridge.
May 18 2009 (3493 days ago)
Garrick TaylorDetails
You can call 276-251-5141 at the Powerhouse and they will let you know if they plan a release. They
don't usually know far in advance. Call Friday for Saturday and then call again before driving up
the day of the release because as they say, "operational schedules are determined daily". 7500 kW
is a good minimum. More is better.
June 26 2007 (4186 days ago)
Andrea JonesDetails
Kibler Valley River Run is generally the last Saturday in July. It is a major fund raiser for the
Red Bank Ruritan club who help needy citizens and the elderly in the area. Verify dates at
June 26 2007 (4186 days ago)
Andrea JonesDetails
The first 4 - 6 miles tend to have problems with occasional strainers so be wary when you come
around a sharp bend. Most of the upper section of the river is scoutable from the road on the way
to the putin. The guys at the powerhouse are really cool and will tell you (if they know) when they
will be releasing and how much - in kilowatts, since there is no USGS gauge below the powerhouse.
7500 kw used to be approximately 275 cfs and 9000 kw used to be 325 cfs. Francisco gauge on the Dan
is about 12 hrs behind the powerhouse.

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