Passage Creek, Virginia, US
2. Elizabeth Furnace to Waterlick (Route 55)
||II-III (varies with level)
First rapidPhoto by Chris B taken 09/20/04 @ 250cfs
Passage Creek drains a very beautiful and narrow gorge between two spine-like Massannutten
Mountains in Virginia. The creek offers a fairly straightforward introduction to running small
streams. The rapids are primarily Class II in nature, with two blind rapids that approach Class
The run begins with Class I-II and fastwater as you exit leave the day-use area at Elizabeth
Furnace. The first major drop occurs at a right hand bend. Scouting is advisable because of the
propensity to pick up strainers. (Of course, strainers may be encountered anywhere along this
creek.) The rapid occurs where the creek first comes back near the road, narrowing down into a left
to right chute. You can scout from a vegetation and tree choked island on river right. Another
major drop occurs at the Out Of Sight
rapid as the creek veers away from the road again.
This is best run by eddying out first on the right and picking a line through the rocky set of
Below the gorge section is a dam backing up water for a nearby fish hatchery. The dam may be
runnable on the far left. Scout or portage from small river left trail above the dam. Shortly below
here, one can take out at the Fish Hatchery Road bridge for a short run that can be easily
The rest of the run is Class I-II with some braiding of the stream into small channels around
islands. Strainers are almost always lurking in this section in fast current.
Ed Evangelidi warns:
"Use caution at Rte. 55, as many of the landowners there are fed up with boaters. If you park on
private property there without permission, you might find that your vehicle has been removed to who
knows where. The owner downstream river right is convinced that he owns the river.
By the way, the section from Rte. 55 to the confluence with the N. Fk. Shenandoah is every bit as
pleasant as the stretch above Elizabeth Furnace but requires less water to run (-3Â at Rte. 55).
Use caution below the fish hatchery, where there is a gravel bar on the right and an elbow bend on
the left where the water often goes under, around & through large strainers. Use the gravel bar to
scout or portage. Below this, look for a small channel that goes left. This side channel is almost
always better than the strainer-prone right side main channel.
Ryan Emanual and others, including myself, can also testify:
"When it's open, Christina's Mexican Cantina in Strasburg is a great place for post-run provisions
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Last Updated: 2018-03-23 17:32:05