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Rapidan River in Virginia

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

I have been an enthusiast of the James River and wanted a change of pace, so a friend and I decided to try the Rapidan, a local river.

We put in off of state route 231 in Somerset where it crosses over the Rapidan and went down to Spicers Mill. There is no direct put in or take out with a boat ramp, but it is easy enough to find a place to put in or take out as we did.

The float took about 2 and half to 3 hours and the water level was slightly low as a result of lack of rain which made for a few more scrapes. We are planning another trip to go from Somerset to Madison Mills which is were the river crosses under route 15 going towards Culpeper. I have been told that float would be around 4 or 5 hours. At Spicers Mill is the water intake for the town of Orange so you would need to take out and put in on the other side.

When we were doing our float, another group including a single kayaker and two people in a canoe, pulled out and reentered the river with no issues.




Put in drive on route 20 from Orange towards Charlottesville and turn right onto 231 towards Madison. The bridge over the Rapidan will be only about a half mile down the rode. Take out, in the town of Orange turn on Spicers Mill Rd which is at the stop light by the Sheetz off of route 15. Continue down Spicers Mill Rd until you see the water intake buildings on the right approximately 5-7 miles down the road.


Most any topographic map should show it. I looked on Google Maps and the river is misnamed as the Rappahannock instead of the Rapidan River

Trip Details

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location