Bullpasture - Public Fishing Access (Rt. 678) to Cowpasture River

Bullpasture, Virginia, US


Public Fishing Access (Rt. 678) to Cowpasture River (Bullpasture Gorge)

Usual Difficulty III+(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 45 fpm


Photo taken 11/26/04 @ 550 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02015700 285 - 10000 cfs III+(IV) 74h02m 178 cfs (too low)

River Description

The gorge is a very fun section, good for intermediates or someone who just enjoys class III fun in a scenic gorge. The rapids become more difficult the further into the gorge you get so it gives those who are stepping up to class III runs a chance to warm up. It's a step down from the Goshen Pass section of the Maury (a near by run) but it remains fun, fairly busy and runs pretty often.

Map (I hope, let me know if it stops working): Click

The putin is located at public fishing access just off Rt. 678 northwest of Williamsville. Heading north on 678 from Williamsville look for Mill run (a small creek) to pass under the road after you leave the gorge. Just after the creek (within 50 yards or so) look to the right and the road to the fishing access should be seen (there's no sign as of this writing). If you get to where the river is road side you've gone too far.

Most people take out at the Rt. 614 bridge, there's a small parking lot there off Rt. 678 next to the bridge. It's possible to continue down from here to the confluence with the Cowpasture. There's a swinging bridge there with a parking lot (go down Rt. 628 to get to the swinging bridge).

Generally the access hasn't been a problem the river is heavily used by trout fishermen who use all of the above access points to wade up and down the river. It is however a good idea to always be careful and not to do anything that would anger any residents. I know that the cowpasture has had it's access problems north of the confluence with the Bullpasture so like most any Virginia river be careful or risk access.

I'm waiting for the next rains to bring up the water so I can add some pictures and attach the rapid descriptions to them.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-04-06 21:08:53

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0No Name
2.5S-TurnIIIHazard Photo
3.0Double LedgeIII+Hazard Waterfall Photo
3.1False FallsIIIWaterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions

S-Turn (Class III, Mile 2.5)


Photo by Mark Andes taken 11/26/04 @ 550 cfs

This rapid you start in the center moving right through a small hole, you then turn and cut back toward the left to avoid a rock that most of the current is taking you towards.

Double Ledge (Class III+, Mile 3.0)

Maggie at Double Ledge

Maggie at Double Ledge
Photo of Maggie Snowel by Mark Andes taken 11/26/04 @ 550 cfs

A 3 foot ledge leading into a 5 foot ledge. Both holes created by the ledges are pretty sticky and have been known the hand out quite the trashing to those unprepared. The second ledge at high water can become a very serious hazard. The traditional line is to punch the top hole at it's weakest point on the far left catch an eddy there and ferry above the second ledge out to the center of the drop and riding the tongue through the hole about 5 feet left of the rock in the center of the river(be careful of this rock as it is undercut).

False Falls (Class III, Mile 3.1)

False Falls Close up

False Falls Close up
Photo of Dave Myers by Maggie Snowel taken 11/26/04 @ 550 cfs

Known by many names (8 foot falls, Beaver Falls, etc) this is a 5 foot drop at the bottom of the pool below Double Ledge. The best place to run this drop is in the center of the river to the left of a truck sized rock. The rapids on either side of this drop are trashy but runnable at most levels.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 14 2012 (2437 days ago)
Justin E AbelDetails
Heads up to anyone paddling this run in the 1200-1400 cfs range. The nature of the river changes
drastically from S-Turns to Double ledge. The rock gardens in between the two become formidable
rapids in their own right. I would consider this area one long continuous rapid with breaks here
and there. Be ready for big holes/pour-overs and a serious workout. And make sure to scout Double
ledge, that boy gets massive! Be sure to check the level at the paddler's gauge on the Rt. 614
bridge in Williamsville. 2ft is the maximum recommended level on the guage. This coincides roughly
with 1300cfs on AW.
September 6 2011 (2689 days ago)
Justin E AbelDetails
Ran it this morning at around 800 cfs. It was a blast! No major hazards whatsoever. A few strainers
partially blocking some rapids, but all easy to see and avoid.
February 8 2008 (3995 days ago)
Ken DubelDetails
There is also a strainer about 30 yards upstream which is not so easy to avoid at low water plus,
ew, as of January 12 it had a dead deer wrapped around the end of it. It's easy to set safety
directly upstream with a rope (came in handy). Update: As of Feb 2 the strainer at the lip of the
double ledge drop was gone. Ken