your paddlesports destination

Potomac River in West Virginia

Trip Overview

I wanted to scout this section of the river as a possible overnight camping destination without need of a shuttle. So I had to see if the flow was slow enough that I could paddle upstream one day, camp, and paddle downstream the next day.

Easy enough. There was very little current on this day. In fact, facing a head wind on the way back on some stretches of the river made paddling downstream harder than paddling upstream.

It is a great, tranquil section of the river. In several hours on the water on an 80 degree April Sunday I saw two motorized boats--small john boats anchored fishing. And a dozen or so other paddlers.

The Maryland side of shore is undeveloped the entire way, thanks to the C&O Canal National Park. The WV shore is mostly undeveloped too. Maybe a half dozen houses are visible on this stretch of the river (though I think this is changing).

I look forward to coming back here in the summer when the paddling can be supplemented by some floating in the water alongside my kayak. And in the fall when the tree-lined shore will be showing off some colors.

I didn't check the gauges, sorry.
I see that it was 4.11 at Hancock today; that might help a little. It's been a dry spell, and maybe the upstream paddle would be different after a rain.

Accommodations:

None. A dozen or so parking spaces

Fees:

None

Directions:

Put-in at the end of Princess Street in Shepherdstown, WV

Resources:

Gertler's book "Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails" is most helpful.

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip