Potts Creek - Paint Bank (Route 311) to Jackson R. (Route 18)

Potts Creek, Virginia, US


Paint Bank (Route 311) to Jackson R. (Route 18)

Usual Difficulty I-IV (for normal flows)
Length 32.5 Miles

cam ledge drop

cam ledge drop
Photo of C Hall by J. Layman taken 04/27/08 @ 3.5ft.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02014000 180 - 10000 cfs I-IV 00h30m 422 cfs (running)
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

River Description

There's a campground near Paint Bank, which seems to be the popular section of this creek to run. It's probably Class II-III.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2008-05-18 16:26:42


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.
June 20 2009 (3503 days ago)
Philip YoungDetails
Ran this at 3.4 feet or 350 cfs. The minimum on this should probably be 300 cfs (not 180), same as
Corbett (at least if you are putting in at Paint Bank). Very pretty class II-III run with a fair
amount of maneuvering and an occasional scrape at this level. The strainer below the first bridge
is still there, and had to be portaged. The second ledge (a lot like the first ledge at the FS
campground) is just below this strainer. We floated to the third bridge-- more pools, but some
interesting rapids, and one low water bridge.
May 12 2009 (3542 days ago)
Jimmy ThomasDetails
Ran from Paint Bank to second Rt. 18 bridge on 5-10-09 at a level just under 5 feet. We found that
where the creek splits, if you go far right, almost like making a u-turn away from most of the
flow, the main strainer section is avoidable. We were able to get under the wires on far river
left, but anything 5 feet or over would likely require a portage. Just after the first bridge there
is a tree across the creek, and at this level we were able to slide over it. At lower water this
may also require a portage. Just after the tree, another nice drop and then the rapids mellow out a
bit, but still fun, until the second bridge where we took out.
March 31 2009 (3584 days ago)
John Details
Ran the section of Potts again at higher water than previous and was def. a step up. class 3 + for
sure. a few must make moves and 2 wires across the creek from Paint Bank putin to take out at Steel
Bridge campground. water was at 4.5 or a little higher on gauge. -cam I ran this with cam on 1-7-09
after 2 inches of local rainfall - brought up this section to 4.5 ft. We ran from the Paint bank
Depot Lodge down to the Steel Bridge Campground - around 2 miles in about 45 mins braving the end
of the storm, sleet, rain, and gusty wind. The first place to watch at higher flows is within the
first 1/4 mile when the creeak cuts right away from the road, this is an area where the creek
splits several times around several islands creating a maze of sorts leaving you to scout or guess
for the best route - beware of strainers, this was the only place we found strainers requiring
portage. The next major concern is just before the Depot Lodge Outfiiter (see photo), There is a 75
yard rapid with a couple small strainers in this section that require you to move left to right to
left and end with a double cable from an old bridge that crosses the creek. We were able to move
far river left and squeeze under the cable - at higher flows (5+ ft.) this will probably become a
mandatory portage; make sure to scout it before you round the bend into the rapid. If you are on
the water there should be a smaller 'precursor cable' hanging across just upstream of the bend
before the rapid with a hanging sign that says something about trout or tresspassing or both or
neither. . Then all is well and boat scoutable until you reach the campground where the real fun
begins and gradient picks up for a 1/4 mile. Running along side the campgound, take out before
going under the next bridge and hike back through the campground to shuttle. Potts Creek continues
to grow in size and flow from here to Covington & runs through some beutiful scenery and along
amazing cliffs.
April 30 2008 (3919 days ago)
x (1)
8/13/06 Have run a couple of areas of Potts. Great at 2.8 feet. Had to portage over one low water
bridge. Scenery was spectacular. Creek moves along well and has some fun rapids. Cows in the creek
a bonus! Lot of fun for beginner kayakers and intermediates! Will have the river to yourself most
of the time.
April 30 2008 (3919 days ago)
x (1)
4-29-08Some good rain brought this creek up fairly well this weekend. The gauge in Covington
read-4.5 to 4.0- and we ran the Steel Bridge campground section off of route 18. Great whitewater!
walked the campground road(which is all roadside to the good whitewater.)We ran it twice, great
fun.I'd say class 2 and lower 3 from what I saw and rode.- check for upcoming photos-cam