The Little River begins in Montgomery Co., VA and winds 65 miles through Floyd and Pulaski Counties before emptying into the New River just below Claytor Lake Dam. The upper 55 miles are not suitable for kayaking.
I usually begin at the Little River Dam and paddle upstream about 5 miles towards Snowville. Very quiet water for 4.5 miles, then you encounter a class 1 Rapids. The current is too swift to paddle through the Rapids, but you can usually deaf your kayak across a grassy shelf to gain another quarter mile to the next class 1 Rapids. Again, the current is swift, I always turn back at this point.
Otherwise, a quiet river with some high cliffs along the way.
Mostly shallow (1-10').
Occasional johnboat fishermen.
Trip takes 2-4 hours depending on how much you dawdle along the way!
You need a free parking permit from the city of Radford. Takes about 10 minutes at the municipal building by the police station.
Heading north on I-81 take the first exit to Radford. Head into Radford and turn sharp left into the Little River Dam Road. Go past the filling station, past the public boat launch (another nice kayaking area below the Claytor Lake Dam), and turn left when you see the small Little River Dam. Drive to the end if the road (about 1/3 mike). Ignore the no trespassing signs if you have a Radford parking permit. The ramp is about 50' below the parking area although you can drive your car down to the ramp. I usually park at top and wheel my kayak down.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)