See the Safety Note below about the wood in Devil's Kitchen.
Also, 9/19/12: There are some reports of new wood (not just the cut-up rootball) in Devil's Kitchen, below House Rock. Also a report of wood in the runout near "the steps" at Indian Pool.
This run is almost entirely a roadside trip. Route 39 runs basically beside the river for almost all of the run. Above Indian Pool the land is state property - the Goshen Pass Wildlife Management Area. There is private land below Indian Pool, but still plenty of access. Walking, jogging, biking, or bumming a shuttle are options. Put-in and take-out options abound.Take-out: The take-out at the old General Store along Rt. 39 in Rockbridge Baths will allow you to run the entire section. Most folks choose a shorter option. Proceeding upriver, the other take-out options are as follows: The Ledges, The Springs, Indian Pool, and Laurel Run Picnic Area. Bite off as much as you want; or do laps on the meat.Put-in options: The traditional put-in is at the swinging bridge at the head of the Pass. To reach this area head west on Rt. 39 through the Pass; you'll see Laurel Run picnic area on your right. Drive about 1-1.5 miles past the picnic area and then begin looking for a gravel road heading off to the right. The road is immediately after the river swings away from the road. Turn right onto the gravel road and drive about 100 yards. There is a large dirt parking area here. Plenty of other options available.
Since 2007, this section of the Maury River has hosted an grassroots annual downriver race. The Goshen Race typically occurs the first weekend in March in which there is flow over 600 cfs by 6 a.m. (Unless there is good local creeking going on!) If sufficient water is not available that weekend, the race automatically falls back to the next weekend with 600 cfs or more. The race starts at high noon above Undercut Rock rapid. For details on this year's race check the "Comments" section of this webpage or watch BoaterTalk.Com and the Coastal Canoeists website: http://www.Coastals.org . Below: Devil's Kitchen, Goshen Race 2009:Trip Description:
This is probably the most "classic" run in the state of Virginia - and for good reason: The Goshen Pass section is several miles of high-quality roadside intermediate whitewater with plenty of play spots and creeky slot-moves for the more advanced paddler. The scenery is superb and the river running is always enjoyable. See also Ed Grove's , "Classic Virginia Rivers" (1992, Howling Wolf Publications).
It goes a little something like this:"Undercut Rock": The first notable rapid, immediately below the "lappers" put-in. A large undercut boulder rests near the right bank with most of the river passing to the left over an almost-river-wide 2' ledge. Most boaters run one of several lines down the river-left. The large undercut has had wood stuck up in it's maw for almost all of 10 years now. "Wigwam" is the large loaf-shaped splat rock below this rapid.
Tandem splats at Wigwam Rock:"Roadside": makes a small surfing wave, or two, or three, at certain water levels. Here the river necks down against the road embankment while dropping over shallow shale."Bikini Row": Named for the lovely college women from Virginia's finest university ("dubyuhnell", of course) who decorate the riverbank here in the late spring and summer seasons, this class III section has several little pools, big boulders, multiple splat rocks, and a few mellow slot moves. A word of advice: that girl sunning herself on the rocks doesn't think splatting is as cool as you think it is. (In fact she wonders why you keep bumping into that rock like an idiot). "Mogwai" hole is the small but loopable hole near the end of Bikini Row:
"Devil's Kitchen": After Bikini Row the water slows down (at most levels) at a large pool before entering a tilted boulder garden known as Devil's Kitchen. The Kitchen is the signature rapid in the Pass and there are many different options for lines. The classic line is to catch "Cadillac eddy" behind the large rock on the upper left, then chart a course pointing 45-degrees towards the opposite (right) bank, negotiating small ledge holes on your way. This line should take you far away from the two undercut rocks which are below "House Rock" (the biggest squarish rock near the middle-top). Alternative lines are everywhere for the creative paddler, so catch an eddy and look for something new if you need some variety. Award yourself one point for every eddy you catch through Kitchen. The record is around 40-45 eddies. The previously reported wood hazard in Kitchen has been reduced to a log/stump that is downstream and to the left of House Rock, as of August, 2011. A crew of boaters sawed-up the huge tree/rootball that had been lodged against House Rock. The wood is not visible at some water levels.
From Alicia J. on Coastals.org (8/2011): "I also wanted to pass along that the denuded root ball has moved in Devil's Kitchen from just left of House Rock to nearly the center of the rapid. I ran the river right line both days, & it was not in play. A friend said it was also not in play when running the left to right line. But just be aware that it's likely to move downstream w/ the next high water."
Below: Devil's Kitchen at a typical flow:
Below Kitchen: There is a series of distinct two-foot ledges jutting out from the right bank; then a jumbled rock garden, called "Double Pin." The rapids then quickly taper into a pool just above Laurel Run picnic ground.Laurel Run Picnic Area: A long flat stretch of water with a developed picnic area on the right bank. Alternative access is possible here. Open-boaters can be seen here puffing hard on cigarettes, to calm their nerves."School Bus Boof:" A 3' ledge on river-left forms a very nice boof onto a very shallow rock shelf at levels of 800+ cfs.
A clapper boof at "School Bus," March, 1997:
The ledge immediately below School Bus is..."Laurel Run wave:" This was once a wide retentive hole. Now it is a small surfing wave at lower levels. Tiny, brushy Laurel Run enters from the river-right through a scenic stone bridge arch. After the wave, some class II-III water wraps around the corner toward..."Corner Rapid:" Although Kitchen is longer and more technical Corner seems to cause more carnage. You'll know you're reaching Corner when the river turns sharply left and a concrete-and -rock buttressed overlook is visible high above the river. Tourists and shuttle bunnies lurk far above the river, hungry for your carnage. Will you deliver? A sizable pourover dominates the center of the river. At low to medium flow, the sides of this pourover make a great boof. Some folks opt to run to the left of the boof rock and then cut quickly back to the right in order to miss "Hematoma Hole," an aggressive chunk of barely-submerged sandstone that is a few boat-lengths below the pourover/boof rock. Other route options exist, including "the meltdown," "Hoffa Slot," and "Jimmy Hoffa Jr." - all of which are to going farther to the right of the boof respectively. Hoffa Slot is a thin line into a hidden room where you can disappear like Jimmy Hoffa... but hopefully not for as long as old Jimmy. The "Jimmy Jr." slot only appears when flows are well into the thousands.
Dave L. dialing in the boof line at Corner rapid (Hoffa Slot is in the foreground):
"Wall Rapid:" (aka, "Sliding Rock rapid") Here the river is pushed to the right against a bare, sloping rock wall. Run against the sloping rock for the deepest water. Rock spins!"Indian Pool:" (aka, "the stairs") After "Wall" and a few more small rapids, you'll reach a quiet stretch known as Indian Pool. Access is possible here if you want a shorter run of just the meat. This is the spot to take-out if the water is low or you want to do multiple laps on the best drops on the river. The small rapid above Indian Pool reportedly has a nice eddy line for squirt boaters. The last hole becomes a primo playspot at 4000 cfs.Below Indian Pool: Below the pool, there is a playful stretch of class III water with several workable playholes. Along the left bank, in the middle of more class II-III water, three ledges in a row stick out from the left bank. All three are retentive, but shallow. Access is possible at "the springs" - look for a pipe sticking out of the woods above a creek. You may note the sign, "Water Not Safe For Drinking." Park in the gravel pull-out there."The Ledges:" Another stretch of class II-III water leads into The Ledges. Here, in typical Goshen fashion, a rock ledge juts from the left bank. The ledge creates a river-wide surf hole big enough for at least five boats. The surf is best here at 1000 cfs or above. Look for a blue house with a concrete retaining wall rising from the river. Access is possible immediately after The Ledges on the river-right."Lava Falls:" There is no "lava," and this is not a "falls." At most levels this rapid is pretty mundane, but in the very rare high flood this rapid is transformed into possibly the biggest hole on the river - a huge standing wave/hole reminiscent of the "real" Lava Falls on the Colorado. I kid you not, this little thing comes alive in big water.
Lava Falls at a fairly high flow:Brillo: An easy class II-III drop runnable on the right, or down a middle line. There is a jumble of rocks on the left.
After Brillo you'll soon paddle under the Route 39 bridge; and soon after that a swinging footbridge on your way to the old General Store and Post Office in Rockbridge Baths. Enjoy.
Paddled in a cataraft today @ 2000cfs. Great trip. Probably the minimum level needed for our 14' Aire. Can't wait to do it again.
The putin was easy but the takeout had a very steep bank. Instead we took out just below Indian Pond at Island Ln. Missed the last few rapids but had an easier time getting out.
This river is awesome and starts to approach amazing at the 3,000+ cfs levels. Big fun.
Ran this at around 400 cfs on 11-16-09. I wouldn't recommend running Goshen Pass at a lower level than that. The margins running through Devil's Kitchen are extremely tight and the rapids below what I call "Wall Rapid" are so rocky you can barely get through. No doubt Devil's Kitchen gets somewhat easier at higher flows as the passages open up a bit.
Paddled the Maury on Nov 14, 2009 - the Strainer in Devils Kitchen on the left side of House Rock was gone. Confirmed by the locals that the removal attempt was successful, and it was totally gone. Several of our group ran that slot directly on the left side of House Rock with no issues, including one who ran through it upside down :)
is the new sug. min level 300 now?yea right -in who's boat..?c
Got tired of seeing a lot of rain and waiting for the river to rise, which it didn't do. So I ran it this morning anyways around 240cfs (1.9 feet) and even though this level is considered below recommended, it is definitely runnable. You scrape a little on the boulder gardens right after the put in, but after that you are good to go and if you look for the lines along the main flow it's actually pretty good water. The water isn't pushy enough through the kitchen or any other rapids to make any good boaters end up in bad spots, but there are a few more sieves and undercuts that you need to watch out for. Definitely some must make moves in the kitchen. There's really only one or two lines available, but they both require a mid-rapid ferry all the way across the kitchen in a skinny/flushy pool, and if you over-launch your boofs then you're doomed to end up stuck in some manky stuff or caught up against some of the more unfriendly rocks. The rest of the way down was really fun and clean with good boofs and nice lines. I won't hesitate to do it again at this level. Just wanted to let everyone know that it's still do-able around this level (however, I wouldn't try it any lower). Message me if you wanna know more.
The rootball strainer in Devil's Kitchen has been removed thanks to the efforts of several local paddlers. There is log in a slot in the top/middle of the rapid but almost no one goes there anyway. The strainer that had been the site of a fatal accident last spring is gone. Props to the Kline family for their efforts!
theif must hit all the takeouts cus there was broken window glass all over the rt 622 (alone mill rd.) lower maury take out on 5/28/07!
Recent break ins (Goshen as well as Balcony Falls section of James) -
A number of recent breakins and thefts reported at Goshen Pass section of the Maury as well as the Balcony Falls section of the James which is another run close to Goshen. Thefts were reported to local law enforcement and it appears that they have stepped up patrols at the local runs. Thefts appear to be classic 'snatch & grab' as Johnny Law calls them so they ain't professional theives by any means. Just a heads up for those that frequent the areas.....hide your valuables or better yet, leave 'em at home.
1/2/2007 update: In addition to the tree, a rock tunnel has been cleaned out and is now a hazard at higher flows. See http://coastals.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3116 and scroll down a bit for details.
The USGS recalibrated the gauge stage / cfs relationship in November of 2005. The river has run so seldom since then it took me this long to notice the discrepancies. From what I can tell, for example, at USGS 2.6 feet what used to be 638 cfs is now reported at 511 cfs. Seems like a minor difference but if your zero is 600 then it makes the difference between a day at work and a day digging the Pass!
BREAK-INS and VANDALISM in the Pass.
From Glenn Rose (April, 2004):
> There is nothing concrete on who broke into my van last week, but the prime suspect is a local boy who lives only a few miles away. He drives around the neighborhood in a red Chevy pickup with "Farm Use" tags, the type one buys at the co-op, not state issued. I think it has a 6 ft. bed. He also travels with another low life in a tan 1980ish pickup with an 8 ft. bed, a darker colored tailgate, and tags that end in something close to "1033". He may travel in his mother's pick up which is around a 1970 Ford two wheel drive dark vehicle also with store bought "Farm Use" tags. I know the names of both of these punks and where the prime suspect lives. There's not enough yet for the law to move, though. Keep an eye out when you're boating. The prime suspect is 18, long haired and bearded with no job, so he steals to make ends meet. The other fellow is early 20s. He may also be bearded and long haired. Both fellows are slight in build from what I've been told.
7 years ago
by Charles Walbridge
8 years ago
by Trafford McRae
In general, 400 cfs is a decent "minimum recommended flow", especially if you have to travel far. You can certainly have fun at lower levels than this if you're horny.
Lately, a flow of 300 cfs or even lower has still been plenty of fun for local paddlers on a nice warm day. Folks - especially open boaters - run this river down to 150 cfs or less. The after-work-weekday crew can be found here on more days than not if there's 400 cfs or more. Look for at least 14-15" or more on the painted gauge on the Rt. 39 bridge at the intersection with Turkey Hill Rd. (on the downstream side of the river-right piling).
A Tip: Goshen probably has more play at lower levels (500-1,000 cfs) than at some of the higher levels. At skinny-water flow there are a bunch of tight surf waves, splat rocks, and sticky little holes. Good play - just on a "snack-size" scale.
The old stick-gauge behind the Rockbridge Baths store has been missing since summer, 2000. This gauge was often referred to in old guidebooks and was it used by most boaters "back in the day." The old stick gauge should not be confused with the stage (foot/inch) data provided by the USGS. There is a new gage on the Rt. 39 bridge at the intersection of Turkey Hill Rd. Downstream river-right side of the right piling. It seems to *roughly* correlate to the old stick gage - at least at low flows. The best gauge for this run is the USGS web gauge (shown above). Consider 500 cfs(currently about 2.5 feet, USGS stage) to be a minimum level worth travelling for, - but you can have fun with even lower flows. A flow of 500-600 cfs is around 17-18" on the new bridge gauge, and is this about the same as 18" on the old stick gauge that most of us used for years. Confused yet? Then just use the USGS cfs information and consider 300 to 500 cfs a minimum flow.
Maximum levels will vary according to your skill and daily disposition. We ran the Pass well into the 17,000 - 20,000+ cfs range several times during the 1995-1998 floods, but that kind of flow rarely occurs and it is very BIG water. At 18K I felt like the whitewater was every big as big as the Colorado in the Grand Canyon.
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Right Side Devils Kitchen
Left side Devils Kitchen
Dave L. working on his Corner boof
Goshen Pass Downriver Race 2009
Wigwam, Goshen Pass, VA
Goshen Race 2011
Wood hazard in Devil's Kitchen
Goshen Race 2008
Kitchen - Inside Boof
Low-water Corner Rapid
High water flatwater
REAL High Water Corner
Bottom of the Kitchen
Hole at the bottom of the Kitchen
Lava Falls @ High water
Alone Mill Cliffs
Full length of Devil's Kitchen
Boofin' it up at Corner
Rt 39 Bridge after the 85 flood
Cartwheeling in Indian Pool
Boof on Corner Rapid
Navigating the Pass
Typical Goshen Pass Rapid
Cruisin' through Goshen Pass
Someone's in the Kitchen - Part 1
Someone's in the Kitchen - Part 2
Someone's in the Kitchen - Part 3
Someone's in the Kitchen - Part 4
Someone's in the Kitchen - Part 5
Devil's Kitchen Finale
Cleaning the Kitchen - Part 1
Cleaning the Kitchen - Part 2
Cleaning the Kitchen - Part 3
Cleaning the Kitchen - Part 4
Cleaning the Kitchen - Part 5
Hole on the Maury
Indian Pool Cartwheel
Devil's Kitchen, 800 cfs
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