North - Below Staunton Dam to Spring Creek (Route 727)

North, Virginia, US


Below Staunton Dam to Spring Creek (Route 727)

Usual Difficulty II-IV (for normal flows)
Length 26 Miles
Avg. Gradient 15 fpm
Max Gradient 46 fpm

Taylor showcases his skills

Taylor showcases his skills
Photo of Taylor by C. Finley taken 11/15/03

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01620500 100 - 250 cfs II-IV 00h46m 198 cfs (running)

River Description

Virginia Whitewater, Roger Corbett

This is a whitewater run through a remote beautiful gorge. Challenges include ledges, sloping ledges and Alder thickets at high water. This river has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the few VA rivers where a paddling fatality has occurred. There is a hiking trail that crosses the river frequently for scouting and rescue. It's a beautiful hike as well.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-05-19 21:23:58

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 7 2013 (1874 days ago)
Justin E AbelDetails
Ran it at ~500cfs on the Stokesville gauge, from North River Campground down to Camp May Flather.
The paddlers' gauge on the bridge at the campground read 2ft when I put in, and it was holding at
2ft when I had finished the run. Super fun! Just a lotta wood. There were about 10 river wide
strainers that I portaged around.
May 7 2013 (1874 days ago)
Justin E AbelDetails
Ran it today at around 130 cfs on the Stokesville gauge (maybe an inch or two above 0 on the put-in
bridge), and there was much more scraping than I anticipated, bit of a let down. If you're coming
from a distance, I'd say wait till the 200-300 cfs range as a minimum to make the trip worthwhile.
Plenty of strainers on the river, but nothing too extreme. Check the previous comments for the bad
one. Always keep an eye downstream, new ones are inevitable. A possible alternate take out would be
the left bank at Camp May Flather. You can see the buildings and climbing wall from the river.
It'll avoid the last lower mile which has multiple strainer pile-ups. And rapid wise, you won't
miss anything. Looking forward to seeing this one with more water.
October 16 2011 (2443 days ago)
Chris PreperatoDetails
There is a stage gauge at the lake right above that stretch (Elkhorn Lake SG). So, you can use that
to see if the lake is full or not. Unfortunately I can only go back 30 days of data, but it appears
that a stage of 40.0 is approximately what "full" is for the lake, with anything over that flowing
over the dam. So, if the Stokesville gauge is showing 300cfs, but the dam is only at 30ft, chances
are its gonna be dry. It may even be more useful to gauge the run based on stage gauge, as anything
over 40ft is the river flow. A group paddled it on 10/15 (200cfs @ Stokesville, 41.1ft on SG) and
said it felt like canoe zero. So, its possible that the Stokesville gauge has changed as well.
December 1 2010 (2762 days ago)
Chris PreperatoDetails
Paddled it today at levels between 6-700cfs on the Stokesville gauge. With the side streams coming
in, I'd say it was over 1000cfs of actual flow by the take-out. The rapids were largely class 3-3+,
with one section that was low Class 4 (towards where the river leaves the forest, consists of a
series of slides and big wave trains). The minimum is definitely too low, you could easily run this
over 1000cfs, just have to be on the lookout for strainers. There is one that's been there for a
few years; it comes after the river splits around an island about 1.5 miles in. There is a shallow
channel that juts off 90 degrees to the left, at low flows the right channel was a beaver dam, at
high flow, it looked like the correct channel to take. Problem is, when these channels come back
together, a really nasty strainer is across the entire river, chest high, with branches sticking
out from it that make it very dangerous because there are no eddies after the channels come
together. In the winter, it collects ice balls making it a river-wide wall. The key is to take the
shallow channel and get out before the two merge back together.
December 11 2009 (3117 days ago)
Chris PreperatoDetails
Paddled it today at about 120cfs, and I can confirm that something in the 110 range would probably
be a reasonable minimum, wouldn't want to go much lower than I did. As for the strainers, at that
level, I found I was able to go over the first one (about 1/2 mile into the run), and under or just
around a few others. There is a particularly nasty one that occurs about a mile in, the river right
channel dams up, the left channel was very shallow and had 2 different logs across it (minor
issue), but when the channels met again, they flowed right into a chest high log that had a
limb/ice trap covering about half the river. Definitely catch an eddy above that one
November 15 2009 (3142 days ago)
Rob TrundleDetails
Re: Strainers As of 2009 November there are 6 river wide logs that can't be crossed. None are
dangerous to anyone who is comfortable on this river, but it means getting out of your boat six
times. I would put minimum at 115-125 cfs, but I realize there are issues with reservoirs. We did
it at 108 and it was ok but not a great level.
July 26 2007 (3986 days ago)
anthony hangerDetails
there is currently a riverwide strainer a couple hundred yards down from the campground and a log
just below the surface in the last bend leading into the ledges there is a suspention bridge with
hiking trail (1/4 mile? boat carry to road hike trail to park area above GS camp) for those wanting
to make a class 3 trip.
September 14 2004 (5030 days ago)
Bill KirbyDetails
After some discussion with other boaters, I got curious about relating the USGS gage with minimum
runnable level. It so happened I have some detailed topo of the streambed near the USGS gage I did
as part of my doctoral dissertation. I used these data to make a digital model of the stream at the
gage to see what flow would give a minimum depth.

It pretty much confirms what others have said; zero is probably between 80 and 100 cfs on the USGS
gage. An image above shows a plot of the HEC-RAS model of the shallowest part of the USGS gage site
reach with a flow of 80 cfs. Note that the maximum depth is a little over one foot. On the
principle that you can run the whole reach if you can float a boat at the first rapids at the
put-in, this suggests that the river below here is runnable. This isn't just paddlers' lore, it's a
principle of geomorphology that the channel is created by the hydrology, so as you move downstream
the channel widens, but contributions from tribs keep the depth similar. This all assumes rainfall
uniformly covering the watershed, so it's not all coming in one trib. Also it assumes full
reservoirs; if Staunton reservoir has been drawn down and the river is flowing into an empty hole
there may be no outflow at all.

Water the take-out is at least four hours later than at the USGS gage, so if it's rising or falling
rapidly, watch out.
November 19 2003 (5330 days ago)
Ken DubelDetails
Regrets, but I disagree on the location of the gauge plus the relatively new one which was
mentioned is, I believe, the same gauge we've been looking at. The "near Stokesville"
part is misleading. The gauge is actually upstream of the two reservoirs which in turn are upstream
of the gorge. If both reservoirs are full then I think it's pretty much water in = water out minus
municiple consumption.
June 12 2003 (5490 days ago)
Dan RabunDetails
we ran this for the second time at 85 cfs (and steady) on the Stokesville gage, with a light shower
the night before our run. I would call this an enjoyable bare minimum. Not much scraping after the
first 1/4 mile, and still plenty of fun. About 30% of that flow was coming out of the Little River
(the gage is below the confluence), so I am guessing only 60 cfs or so was in the North River. It
was -1" on the painted put-in bridge at the campground, so 0" on the painted gage is
fairly accurate, and I would guess most people would use this as their minimum. Keep a constant eye
for strainers on this run, although we only had to walk around one.
April 18 2002 (5911 days ago)
Matt MuirDetails
There's a relatively new gage at . The rumor is
that 100 or 150 cfs might be enough to make the North worth the trip.

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