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Difficulty I-III(V)
Length 7.6 Miles
Gauge N F SHENANDOAH RIVER AT COOTES STORE, VA
Flow Range 1000 - 20000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 37 minutes ago 209 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 05/11/2005 11:55 pm

River Description


This is really two distinct sections. The first 6.6 miles are no more than class II. I have only paddled this from a little above Rinkerton, after the addition of the water from Crooked Run, where the creek comes alongside Va. 263 for its final 2 miles. There is a nice set of Class II mini-ledges just above Rinkerton, and then nothing more than class I, but with a good current because of the gradient. The scenery is relatively poor, because you are next to the road. The scenery should be better upstream, and the gradient is similar, as is the whitewater (according to Corbett); however, there are likely to be fences and downed trees. This section ends when you see I-81 appear and the horizon line disappear. You can easily climb up to Va. 263, and park on its shoulder.
Then comes the final plunge of Mill Creek, down to the North Fork. It begins with the class III Mill Rapid, a long, wide sloping ledge with several steps and many possible routes, which requires much more water than above. You can pull over on either side to scout and select your path. In the final section, most of the water goes to the left. After you pass beneath I-81, riffles carry you swiftly to the next horizon line, where almost all of the water channels to the far left. Stay right, and then land on the rock ledge in the middle. This is an extremely dangerous drop of about 15 feet, at least class 5.0, through a 6 to 8-foot wide mill-race cleft in the rock, with a complicated entry, an undercut left side, a large pillow midway, a keeper hydraulic etc. Portage over the rock ledge. Shortly below, pull over on the left to scout the next drop (and to be safe and efficient, the following one as well). Most of the water goes to the left, over a diagonal ledge (class IV) with a serious hydraulic on the far left (where the current will try to push you), apparently the result of blasting to make a route for a pipeline. This hydraulic may be hard to avoid even in low water. Many paddlers will prefer the class III sneak route on the far right of the creek. Whichever route you take, stay on the right side of the wave train below, and maximize your speed to carry you through the strong hydraulic of the final drop, within sight of the take-out bridge.
You can continue one-third mile down to Va. 11, from where it is another one-third mile to the confluence, and a final one-third mile down to SR 698 (again). If you do any of that, you must first portage an 8-foot dam (on the left), after which you get to run a few class II rapids.


Ed Evangelidi testifies:<br>
Be sure to scout the steep, sharp-rocked, man-blasted rapid that most may wish to carry along the shuttle road.
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Rapid Descriptions

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Summary of Gauge Readings

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Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
N F SHENANDOAH RIVER AT COOTES STORE, VA
AW Gauge Info
209 cfs ℹ️ 00h37m n/a
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Directions Description


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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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Stephen J. Ettinger