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James River - Balcony Falls whitewater section

va

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 4.5 miles


Classic Virginia Class II+(III) whitewater run. With a huge watershed providing year round boatable levels this is THE run for beginner and intermediate paddlers in VA.
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With a huge watershed providing year round boatable levels this is THE run for beginner and intermediate paddlers in VA. While people come from all over to paddle this run, during the week you could have the river to yourself. On the weekends it can get pretty crowded, but when the level is good (over 4') or after the weather turns cold most of the recreational canoers and fisherman clear out. All in all, this very fun run is mostly class 2 with an easy class three at Balcony Falls. It is a great run for instructing beginners and has enough play (at levels over 4 feet) to keep intermediate paddlers interested as well.

Directions to Put-in: From Roanoke: Take I-81 North to the exit 175, Natural Bridge, VA exit. Take a right off of the ramp and take a left on Rt 11. Follow Rt 11 a couple of miles until you get to the Natural Bridge Hotel. Take that Right (follow signs to Glasgow, Rt 130). Once you arrive in Glasgow look for a BP Convenience Store on Rt 130. The put-in is across the street from that store which is at the mouth of the Maury River. Look for the Boat Landing signs

Directions to take-out: From the BP station stay on Rt 130 (over the Maury River) until you come to a fork in the road, take a right at the fork (Rt 501). Go over the mountain (several roadside spots to see down the gorge) until you see the James at road level. There are several takeout options here, but the politically correct takeout is at the public boat ramp in Snowden (before the dam) on the left side of the road.

Visit American Whitewater webpage for the Balcony Falls section (rapid descriptions, photos, and more)

Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing provides guided kayak instruction and trips on the Balcony Falls section. You must do a flat water clinic first.


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