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SlimPickens83

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Longnose Gar
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Reply with quote  #1 
Does anyone have any recommendations for an overnight kayak trips, maybe two nights? I'd like to do an overnight trip with some friends somewhere in between late June and the end of July. I'd perfer riverside camping over campgrounds if possible. I know there are the Greenbriar River trail camp sites, but I also know that I'll need to watch the water gauges as I'd perfer to float instead of drag. What gauge should I watch and what is the minimum for a float below Anthony? Are there any overnight possibilities on the Elk below Sutton? My guess is the Elk is all private property and camping would be risky.

Thanks for any feedback.
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Cheatriver8730

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Reply with quote  #2 
New below sandstone falls.
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SlimPickens83

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Longnose Gar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheatriver8730
New below sandstone falls.


Thanks for the suggestion, I didn't think about that. I guess that would all be government land in that area. What type of experience would be needed to float that? I've been in a kayak 5 years or so, but mostly floating the calm pools and shoals of the elk. I've hit some rough areas on the Greenbrier, but nothing I would call white water.
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Cheatriver8730

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hmmm. Definately has some whitewater. I would feel comfortable in my sit on top fishing kayak. Not so much in an open canoe.


https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/2416/

https://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/upload/neri_parkmap.pdf

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SlimPickens83

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Longnose Gar
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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheatriver8730
Hmmm. Definately has some whitewater. I would feel comfortable in my sit on top fishing kayak. Not so much in an open canoe.



Thanks for the suggestions and links. All of us have sit on top fishing kayaks, so maybe we have an advantage. I'm sure if we took our time, got a map at the sandstone visitors center and scouted all of the sketchy areas prior to running them, we'd be fine. I'll have to add the New below sandstone to the list.
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Cheatriver8730

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Reply with quote  #6 
Another possibility would be the Cheat. You could float from Parsons to blackwater outdoor at St. George the first day and camp there. Float downstream the second day as far as you want. Have heard of people camping on some of the islands below St George but I’m not sure of the legality.
Water can be sketchy the later in the summer you go. You would want at least 300 cfs at Parsons.

http://cheatriverwatertrail.org
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AnglinsCreek

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Reply with quote  #7 
South Branch Potomac from Old Fields to Trough store. Camp out on river right from giant rock.
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AnglinsCreek

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Reply with quote  #8 
New river from Sandstone to Glade has some whitewater. Doable for sure and has some nice camp spots. I would say its all class 2 and largely an open highway. Don't go over to little side chutes and stay in the largest downward V's and you should be just fine as long as river is below 5k cfs.
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Catchandrealease

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Reply with quote  #9 
what are good water level to float the south branch?
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WVUPSC

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Reply with quote  #10 
3.0-3.5 feet at the Springfield gage is what I typically like.

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/uv/?site_no=01608500&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,62614

The book entitled "Canoeing & Kayaking - West Virginia" is a good source for that type of info.  It says at least 3.0 feet at the Franklin Gage.
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SlimPickens83

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Longnose Gar
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Reply with quote  #11 
Thanks again for the suggestions, another one for the list. I'll also be sure to look for that book.
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cling

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Reply with quote  #12 
There may also be a possibility on Shavers Fork, but you would some higher water. 

Starting at Bowden or Stuart Park, and taking out at Parsons. There is some national forest land adjacent to the river in places. Stuart Park to Parson's is about 25 miles.

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Cheatriver8730

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Reply with quote  #13 
Another one to consider would be the mainstem of the Potomac. 180 mile long national park on the Maryland shore. Overnight campsites every 6-8 miles that are free. WV license works until Harpers Ferry. Pretty reliable for water levels most years.
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curmudgeon

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Reply with quote  #14 

By far one of the best rivers for overnights in the Spring time is the Greenbrier River.  The Greenbrier River bike trail follows the river from Cass all the way to Caldwell, which is around 75 miles.  There are great campsites along the trail and all of them have river access. 

With lots of access points you could do a short trip or a really long multiple day trip.

All of the campsites have tent pads, picnic tables, fire rings, and well-maintained outhouses.  Some have three-sided trail shelters.  None of the campsites have drinking water.

I would suggest getting a trail map, and you can see all the campsites and plan your river trip accordingly.

The land varies from private camps and homes, to National Forest, to State Forest, to State Park depending on what section you do.

If the Buckeye River gauge is about 600 cfs you should have no problem with running out of water anywhere along the trail in a sit on top kayak or an open canoe.

There is no whitewater.

You can expect to catch stocked hatchery trout on the river’s upper reaches, and smallmouth bass along with panfish the entire length.  The smallmouth fishing can be outstanding.

Other than Memorial Day weekend you can usually have the river completely to yourself.

Wildlife sightings are abundant, with sightings of bear, deer, turkeys, coyotes, otters, and bald eagles very common.

By summer the river has usually dropped to levels unsuitable for floating.

Get it while you can.

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cling

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheatriver8730
Another one to consider would be the mainstem of the Potomac. 180 mile long national park on the Maryland shore. Overnight campsites every 6-8 miles that are free. WV license works until Harpers Ferry. Pretty reliable for water levels most years.


There are some sections that are dammed, especially closer to Shepherdstown and Harper's Ferry. Still plenty of sections that run unimpeded for this though. 

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SlimPickens83

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Reply with quote  #16 
Thanks all, I appreciate your responses. I floated a section of the greenbrier below Talcott in August and it was 50/50 draging and floating. I definitely want to pay closer attention to the gauges and catch the river earlier in the year.... I think as of now I'm leaning towards the greenbrier, but the new is intriguing.
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slimpickens

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Reply with quote  #17 
the upper new from Sandstone to Thurman is all pretty good.  some smaller white water, but I used to take highschoolers down it in canoes with float bags.  Most folks would flip at least once depending on how high the water was, but you'd be better than high schoolers who hadn't canoe'd before and tended to just grab the sides of the canoe rather than paddle through the rapid.  I think Silo is probably the worst/best rapid, depending on how you look at it.  A lot of the rafting companies take fairly young kids down that section in inflatable duckies. 
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SlimPickens83

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Longnose Gar
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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by slimpickens
the upper new from Sandstone to Thurman is all pretty good.  some smaller white water, but I used to take highschoolers down it in canoes with float bags.  Most folks would flip at least once depending on how high the water was, but you'd be better than high schoolers who hadn't canoe'd before and tended to just grab the sides of the canoe rather than paddle through the rapid.  I think Silo is probably the worst/best rapid, depending on how you look at it.  A lot of the rafting companies take fairly young kids down that section in inflatable duckies. 


I'm liking the New idea. Any recommendations on which water gauge to check for that area and what is a good level to run it?

BTW, I bought that Canoe and Kayak WV book mentioned earlier, waiting on Amazon to deliver.
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4fan

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglinsCreek
South Branch Potomac from Old Fields to Trough store. Camp out on river right from giant rock.


This ^  

It's only a 12 mile total float but you wont find any better scenery in WV.   IDK how much you guys like to stop and fish.  There are other put-in and take outs if you want a longer float.

Way back when (2001) my wife and I conceived our first born camping out at the head of the trough on a 2 day float [wink]  Saw 7 bald eagles that trip too.
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AnglinsCreek

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Reply with quote  #20 
I would not float below Glade Creek on the New. Silo, Grassy Shoals, etc. are fairly considerable Rapids for a sit on top or canoe. Silo has had fatalities in it.

Sandstone to Glade is good to go with adequate use of caution. Look at Hinton and Thurmond gauge. Lower CFs is nice but too low creates new obstacles.

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4fan

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Reply with quote  #21 
My all time favorite is Pembroke VA to Bluff City ( Pearisburg VA) on the new.   There are some class 3 rapids on this stretch.  17 miles - good 2 day trip.  Lots of islands to camp.
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SlimPickens83

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Longnose Gar
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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4fan
My all time favorite is Pembroke VA to Bluff City ( Pearisburg VA) on the new.   There are some class 3 rapids on this stretch.  17 miles - good 2 day trip.  Lots of islands to camp.


I keep forgetting just how close VA is to Charleston. The float you mentioned is a short 2 hour drive. The only downside is buying an out of state fishing license, but it's a small price to pay for the convenience. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll add that to the list too.

Using caution around the class 3 rapids is a must, but my friends and I are in our 30s and past our young and dumb days. We'd be smart enough to get a map and portage the rapids.
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SlimPickens83

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Longnose Gar
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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglinsCreek
I would not float below Glade Creek on the New. Silo, Grassy Shoals, etc. are fairly considerable Rapids for a sit on top or canoe. Silo has had fatalities in it.

Sandstone to Glade is good to go with adequate use of caution. Look at Hinton and Thurmond gauge. Lower CFs is nice but too low creates new obstacles.


How easy is it to spot and get around grassy shoals rapids and Quinnimont rapids? A one night trip from the I64 Bridge to army camp campground using glade creek campground as camp seems like a good float. It looks to be about 16 miles total with glade creek campground pretty much in the middle. We would be fishing quite a bit, so I'd rather not try to pack on the miles.
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campnfisher

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Reply with quote  #24 
The New in VA has outstanding fishing. I've floated from Pembroke to Glen Allen, with the exception of a mile or two above and below the Narrows. A number of islands and such to camp on along the way. Also, look at the map along the New around Shanklins Ferry. Several overnight options there as well and usually MUCH less crowded than other sections of the New. Done a lot of floating above and below there as well....
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Bugs

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Reply with quote  #25 
like anglins said, I wouldn't go past glade in a sit on top. Sandstone to glade is a perfect overnight IMO, especially if you are fishing hard. This all depends on flows too.
Stay river left at the first rapid at citgo gas station put in and you should be just fine the rest of the trip.
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Canoetripper

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Reply with quote  #26 
I have no experience in a Kayak, just a canoe. I've only ever canoed the Greenbrier from Durbin to Anthony. At the time of year for the float you want to do it will probably too low, but a lot of rainfall could change that. It is a great float with beautiful scenery and smallmouth bass fishing. 

I've got nothing but great things to say about the Smoke Hole and Trough sections of the South Branch of the Potomac River.

I've canoed most of the New River from the South Fork in North Carolina to the Rte. 58 bridge. I've canoed from McCoy, VA to Shanklin's Ferry, WV. And from there from the I-64 bridge to Sandstone Cliff in WV. The more difficult water will be on the New River. 

I hope that you enjoy your float and have a great time.

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SlimPickens83

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Reply with quote  #27 
Lots of great advice here... Thanks everyone.
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Brookie

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Reply with quote  #28 
Good info here!  The Trough on the SBP has some awesome camping spots. McFishing can give you the skinny on the cfs. 
The Greenbrier has some great options pending water... Maybe the Lower Elk too.
The New is probably one of the better choices because you never have to worry about having enough water and private property for the most part, just rapids.
I was surprised to see the Cheat recommended at 300cfs... that will require more walking and dragging than I thought you would want to take on, especially if you are carrying overnight gear, and also risk some nasty rock rash on the yak. I wouldn't take your sit on tops there below 500cfs at the very least, which still has some low gravel bars and flat sections where you would want to beat your head on a rock.  Woolybugger will attest. Cheat also has very little public camping.  I don't think any is "advertised" other than a few campgrounds.

Shavers has some camping options below Little Black fork, but you can get into some choppy water here and need at least 500cfs at Bowden gauge, and it usually drops fast this time of year!!! You will need good balance with your sit on top.

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ccaldwell

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Reply with quote  #29 
Grassy Shoals rapid is easy to miss if you go river right.  Quinnimont is fun in a raft.  I don't have any kayak or canoe experience on that section.  But Quinnimont is kinda hard to miss.  You could take out and portage around on river left but you would have to stay on the left hand side.  There are a couple more between Glade and Quinnimont that change depending on the water levels.  
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AnglinsCreek

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Reply with quote  #30 
The main hole in grassy shoals is right of center on the left side channel of the New. The wave train is on the left bank. The hole can easily flip a kayak.

You can go right of the hole however all of the water is pushing you left. If the water is high you can even go right of the Island.

I would take it all out of play by doing Sandstone to Glade Creek.

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