Roanoke - 4. Little Niagra to Rutrough Road

Roanoke, Virginia, US


4. Little Niagra to Rutrough Road (Roanoke Gorge)

Usual Difficulty I-II (for normal flows)
Length 3.1 Miles

Roanoke River 600 cfs

Roanoke River 600 cfs
Photo taken 04/11/17

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-02056000 130 - 2000 cfs I-II 01h13m 1170 cfs (running)

River Description

Put in at the Parkway bridge or parkway parking lot at the dam. 

Take out at the end of Rutrough Rd.  Go through explore park merge right in the park come to a stop sign left onto rougtrough rd follow till dead end 4 miles round trip or so.  Take out closes at dark.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-09-17 18:12:37

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.
July 16 2011 (2747 days ago)
Russell BaileyDetails
Ran yesterday July 15, 2011 - just over 200 cfs (~210 cfs). Some spots were scrapy but there was
ample to get down. The play at rapids was mainly eddy hopping, but there was one fun 2' wave that I
could park my Gyramax on as long as I wanted - we probably stayed there a half hour or so surfing.
April 14 2011 (2840 days ago)
Jimmy ThomasDetails
Joe, as far as I know there are no scheduled releases, but releases don't really make much
difference in the level on this section, rain does. See JAL's comment below. Look at this website: If it is over 885 on the forebay then water is
flowing over the dam in addition to any release, and the upper dewatered section runs. 885.5
forebay is a good level for the upper section, usually coincides with the USGS being between 4.5 to
5.5 feet. Look for a faint dirt trail that goes straight down off the main path, go down the steep
slope and walk upstream to the big pool above the rapid to put in for the upper section.
April 9 2011 (2845 days ago)
x (1)
does anyone know if there is a set date and time for these water releases or are they random? You
have to depend on mother nature try to catch it at 850 CFS its a blast. Hopefully the government
didn't shut down the parkway today its running at 996cfs. Joe Shelton 4-9-2011
May 7 2009 (3547 days ago)
x (1)
Ran today at about 3,000 cfs and barely below 7'. First time down. At this level, the only
significant rapid was the one that you can barely see from the bridge, with a sizable moving
whirlpool on the left eddy line at the bottom. Surfed maybe 10 waves, but not a great play run at
this height - you got one shot on most waves and that was it. Will have to try it lower - I presume
a lot was just washed out. Was very quick - from my house in Roanoke, paddling, and back, was 3.5
hours. Russell Bailey - Roanoke VA
March 19 2009 (3596 days ago)
x (1)
i'm taking over the blank comment! i dont bother with this run below 4-5 ft. if you want to forcast
a release do the following: Notice that it is raining in Roanoke Valley (& has been). Notice that
the Roanoke River has or is rising and it usually likes to go brown in color quickly. THEN check
here: IF the forebay is higher then the 'actual
pond' they ARE releasing and in all likelihood the overflow is running and the dewatered streach
below the dam is running.... If the forebay is just below or right at 'actual pond' they are
probably releasing ever couple hours or so. IE - if forebay is Just below full pond and you know
the river is running at anything above minimum they probably have just done a release. check the
gauge you can see they do regular releases when the river level is up. If the river is up and muddy
anywhere in roanoke upstream you can bet they are releasing. But dont hold out any hope on catching
juicy levels due to releases, it has to rain first. JAL
March 14 2009 (3601 days ago)
x (1)
With the snow melt last week we got to run the gorge on March 7th level was over 3ft and 440cfs
good hole all the way down. we are heading over there now it is on the rise and raining today
3/14/09 250cfs now and comming up. Great run and close to Town.
November 22 2008 (3713 days ago)
x (1)
You can not depend on the releases , you need to depend on Mother nature. we got to run this on
Nov. 1st after a rain it was at 3.0 . also got to surf a small hole near the take out due to the
lake being so low. we paddled the original river channel that has been under water fo 20 years.
make sure you are out and gone before dark, the Roanoke county police gave a flyfisherman a ticket
on the 8th for trespassing at the end of Rutrough rd. at the take out! for being there after hours.
FFV is working to build a set of steps at the take out. DKS
June 6 2008 (3882 days ago)
x (1)
We ran the gorge section a few days ago, and it was a short ride and some good surfing-the level
was right above 3 ft and it was awesome! Small rapids mostly small class 2's but had some fun
ledges, nice scenery except trash from the dam pushing it down,also ran it at 2foot and it was not
worth the time no surf (very little)and scraped all the way down oh and expect to share the river
with some fishermen too-even a small seal launch at the end-woo-hoo. I'll be back for more
gorge!!!putin-parkway parking lot at the dam-takeout-go through explore park merge right in the
park come to a stop sign left onto rougtrough rd follow till dead end 4 miles round trip or so-cam
March 22 2008 (3958 days ago)
x (1)
This a great run, close to Roanoke! takes about 2.5 hours to run you can boat this as low as 2.0
and is great at 3.5 to 4 ft.on the gauge. there is a lot of trash on the banks from the floods in
the past, but still worth the time.put in at the Parkway bridge take out at the end of rutrough rd.