your paddlesports destination

Iron Gate Gorge in Virginia

Trip Overview

This float start out with about a mile of flatwater, but it does have a good amount of current and riffle so it goes by pretty quickly. After you go under the interstate bridge, this is where the gorge starts. There are 3 drops in the gorge, which can be run river right or center. Quite a few surfing opportunities are in here. We usually eddy out after the third drop and play for a while. After this is about a half mile of flat water until you get in behind the town of Iron Gate. After getting in city limits it almost continuous riffles with lots of surfing spots. This continues until the head of the James, where the Cowpasture River joins the Jackson. Right at the end of the trip with 220 in view is, in my opinion, the best play spot on the Jackson. Its pretty much a river wide surf spot. It doesn't look like much from the road but it's a surfers heaven. So don't tire yourself out on the top section. The take out after all of the fun is on river left. This paddle takes between 2 and 3 hours. If you have any questions or need directions, don't hesitate to email me. Hell, I might come with you. Hope to see you on the water


I-64 to the Cliftondale exit. Follow the 220 signs. After you cross the bridge take a right and drive to the end of this road. You will see a large grass area where you can park. You will see a swinging bridge. The put in is to the right of the bridge.


Take out is under the rt. 220 bridge at glen wilton

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip