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Difficulty II
Length 4 Miles
Flow Range 600 - 20000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 19 minutes ago 1490 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 07/25/2002 2:04 am

River Description

The Rivanna is a Virginia State Scenic River. It's a bit more placid than some of its Piedmont cousins.

The trip starts after a 8 foot dam at the end of East Market St in Charlottesville. The putin is near a sewage treatment plant. There are a few Class I/II riffles and ledges along its 4 mile length. The takeout according to Grove is river left on Randolph Rd., a 1/4 mile after the 729 bridge.

You can continue for another 30 miles or so below Shadwell to the confluence with the James. The first 15 mile section has mild action and is suitable for overnight camping. The next section is pretty flat.

Rapid Descriptions


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George Michie
1 month ago

Just ran this tandem at 550 cfs and it was plenty of water for a fun trip. The real minimum for tandem canoe is more like 300 cfs or 3 feet on the Palmyra gauge. Might need more than that for a kayak.

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Kirby Hutto
6 years ago

The dam at the old Woolen Mills is long gone now. Your best bet for putting in is now on the north side of the river at Darden Towe Park. This makes for a little longer run but you get more time on the water and less time running the shuttle by not having to go all the way down Market Street.

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Daryl Beck
7 years ago

The minimum of 600 cfs is too high. Ran it a couple of weeks ago at 520 cfs and there was plenty of water. There are also steps at the takeout which make the climb up the bank much easier.

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Colin Abernethy
8 years ago

Previous comment about strainer removed as the strainer has long since washed away. Ran the river yesterday (03/31/2012) at around 850cfs which provided for a fast, fun, and very technical trip. The only time I've run this trip previously, we were at 200cfs and might as well have hiked with as low as the water was. Even at that low a flow, it was still runnable, but very, very scrape-y. At 850cfs this river is delightful for anyone in need of a good warm-up run for the beginning of the season, or for teaching novices to run some slightly bigger/longer and more technical rapids. The river main page should probably be updated as the better put-in is now Darden Towe Park which has ample parking and a designated (and free!) public boat ramp. This adds a few class I-II- rapids into the trip and provides for a much easier entrance to the river. The best rapids on this trip are between the I-64 bridge and the bridge at Milton/Shadwell just before the take-out. There are 3 sizable drops on this stretch which provide for excellent teaching opportunities. The take-out is poorly marked (not much more than a game-trail when seen from the river) and the embankment you have to climb is steep, but the carry to the parking area is thankfully short. Once you're past the bridge at Shadwell, look for the next set of riffles just under the overhead power-lines. The take out is actually in the middle of these riffles on river left.

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Harris Haynie
13 years ago

Above about 1,500 cfs, there is a really fun play wave in the rapid above the Shadwell bridge. If there's nothing else going, it's worth some time, especially when the level gets to 3K or more. Have fun!

Gage Descriptions

Gauge is about 20 miles downstream from run.

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
1191795 07/25/02 n/a n/a