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Difficulty I-II
Length 13.5 Miles
Flow Range 4.50 - 7.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 57 minutes ago 4.62 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 07/25/2006 5:43 am

River Description

More of a creek than a river at this point, the upper Rappahannock is a swift flowing stream featuring tight maneuvering, downed trees, abundant wildlife and beautiful rock formations. It is an excellent Class I-II open canoe run for low intermediate paddlers who can deal with strainers or the shepherded practiced novice.

The rapids are primarily sand and gravel bar riffles and tight, curvy chutes formed by rock outcroppings and a handful of easy rock garden rapids. In June 2001, there were several strainers on the run. Most could be lifted over and a handful required ducking. A particularly difficult spot is located just below Tapp's Ford Rd. (Rte. 645), which is the recommended interim putin. The stream narrows to a 6 foot wide right side channel and passes under three downed trees. All of these can be negotiated but the channel is somewhat blind. Rock formations are present throughout the run. The author saw 7 beaver, muskrat and deer while paddling here.

Access is first described for the lower 7.5 miles of this section. This is the suggested run here because the entire 13.5 will probably take 6 or more hours due the number of strainers up high. The 7.5 mile takes about 4 hours. Putin at the Va. Rte. 645 one-lane bridge (Tapp's Ford Road). Ask permission to pull down to the river at the house on the northeast side of the bridge. Takeout at the public access at the Hwy 211 bridge. There are several shuttle options, but a good one involves driving west from the takeout on 211, taking a right turn onto 645, veering right at the first Y in the road and staying straight to the putin bridge. The upper putin can be reached either by staying on 645 to Rte. 647 and turning left, or taking Hwy. 522 off 211 to Rte. 647 at Flint Hill, VA.

Rapid Descriptions


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bert harris
1 year ago

We did this run today when the online Remington gauge was around 8.25 feet. The painted gauge on the bridge on route 647 was 1.8 feet, so squarely in Grove (1992)'s range of 1-3 feet. We ran from 645 down to 211. The first few miles were pretty fast with several trees to avoid. We only had to carry around one though. There was only one rapid of note, an S turn with a hole at the bottom. It was a little high for my preference for a tandem open canoe because of the trees. But it would have been fine in a kayak.

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Peter Bross
14 years ago

Regarding the Rappahannock from 647

Gage Descriptions

Gauge suggestions refer to recommended interim putin at Route 645 (Tapps Ford Rd.) that makes for a 7.5-mile trip. For the entire 13.5 miles from Rte. 647, look for a minimum of 4.8 feet at Remington. The painted gauge at Hwy 29 should read at least 1 foot for either section.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



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Attention Virginia Boaters!

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.

Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191792 07/25/06 n/a n/a