Rivanna - Charlottesville (Market Street) to Shadwell (Route 729)


Rivanna, Virginia, US

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Charlottesville (Market Street) to Shadwell (Route 729)

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 7 fpm
Max Gradient 7 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
RIVANNA RIVER AT PALMYRA, VA
usgs-02034000 600 - 20000 cfs II 00h18m 2180 cfs (running)
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.


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.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2002-07-25 02:04:59

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 21 2014 (1583 days ago)
Krhutto (156515)
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.
January 10 2013 (2079 days ago)
Daryl Beck (155102)
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.
April 1 2012 (2363 days ago)
Colin AbernethyDetails
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.
January 10 2007 (4271 days ago)
Harris HaynieDetails
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!


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