Cacapon - US 50 at Capon Bridge to WV 127 Bridge

Cacapon, West Virginia, US


US 50 at Capon Bridge to WV 127 Bridge

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 12.6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 15 fpm
Max Gradient 15 fpm

Dick Gramm leads the Cacapon

Dick Gramm leads the Cacapon
Photo of Dick Gramm by Philip Dawson taken 04/16/05 @ 2'

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Cacapon Rt 127 Virtual Gauge
virtual-226254 1.80 - 8.00 ft II 00h35m 1.22351 ft (too low)
usgs-01632000 2.50 - 7.00 ft II 00h48m 2.48 ft (too low)
usgs-01611500 2.50 - 7.50 ft II 00h33m 1.73 ft (too low)
usgs-01608000 2.50 - 7.00 ft II 00h48m 2.99 ft (running)

River Description


This is a beautiful practiced novice run on the upper reaches of the Cacapon. The major rapids are riverwide ledges and fastwater in sharp bends. Usually up in the winter and spring, the Cacapon features unusual rock formations, including Caudy's Castle, Chapel Rock, Trickling Springs and Ice Mountain.


After closure of the Cold Stream access in 2003, regional paddling groups were working to secure reliable access three miles upstream at the Hwy 50 bridge in Capon Bridge, WV. Word is there may be a small use fee associated with the parking there and it is hoped the access will be available by April, 2004. Takeout at WV127 bridge on river right downstream of bridge. (NOTE: When running a shuttle via Rt. 15 and Rt. 45/20, be sure to go to the second bridge as you head east on Hwy. 127. The first bridge is over the North River, a tributary of the Cacapon.


There are three ledges, with the third perhaps warranting a Class II+ rating because it can be sticky. The first ledge can be snuck on the far right. The second has a clean line on the left and the last is usually cleanest in the center right. The remaining rapids are Class I-II rock gardens that are mostly wide open.

Posted by Ron on May 21, 2004 at 17:17:01:

In Reply to: Paddler's Access Notices posted by Ron Ray on May 21, 2004 at 17:13:39:

PAN Access Advisory Cacapon River at Capon Bridge (Rte 50) by Bing Garthright, 301-330-1225, April 22, 2004

Putting in at the Rte 50 bridge over the Cacapon River, in the town of Capon Bridge, adds about 4 miles to the more usual float from Edwards Run/Cold Spring down to Rte 127, the Forks of Cacapon. This firm-ground parking spot and long, sloping bank is especially attractive during high water levels. Thanks to the kind toleration of Mr. Donald Wolford of Capon Bridge, Paddlers' Access Network (PAN) has found a new, very good access at the bridge. Mr. Wolford owns the Red Rooster store (undergoing restoration in April 2004), the building immediately west of the bridge on the north side of Rte 50. He is willing for us to turn downstream (north) immediately at the western end of the bridge, drive down the gravel driveway, and park any vehicles that we leave there off to the right of the driveway, along the river bank—not against the side of the store. The put-in is about 25 yards downstream from the bridge on the left bank, down a well-grassed slope with a gently sloping bank at the bottom.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: (1) We must call Mr. Wolford at least one day before paddling and let him know the trip leader's name/telephone number and the number of cars that will end up being parked at his store while we paddle down the Cacapon. Mr. Wolford's phone number is 304-856-2832. If we reach his answering machine, it will be enough to leave the information on the machine. He is not giving permission, but rather just trying to keep informed about what cars are doing parked on the property. (2) Parking space is probably limited to three vehicles, but parking for a few minutes while unloading could be done by about 8 vehicles. (3) Mr. Wolford has had problems with other paddlers leaving trash at this put-in. Please bag and remove any trash you find there before putting in.

THANKS TO: Don Wolford’s kindness; Zeth Zajac’s extensive scouting, and a tip from Dick Gramm.

PLEASE NOTE: Private owners and organizations never invite paddlers to use their land. Most are kind enough to tolerate it. Just as we paddle at our own risk, we use advisories, parking spaces, and access sites at our own risk.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-10-30 19:18:46


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Rapid Descriptions

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