your paddlesports destination

South Branch Potomac River in West Virginia

Trip Overview

Our paddling flotilla consisted of 7 single kayakers; experience levels from moderate to very. We put in at the carry-down that WV DNR calls Milleson's carry-down. It is a pull-off and a break in the guardrail along the Springfield-Slanesivlle Pike (also called Route 3). Steep bank down to the river.

The next couple of miles are full of granite ledges that run the full width of the river - at low water (and it was low this trip) you may need to walk your boat a few yards. We saw 3 bald eagles on this stretch so all was forgiven! We passed the public boat ramp at the bridge (a good alternative it you don't want to deal with the ledges) and headed on.

Lunch was on a rock alongside the NW bank. There are numerous riffles and rock gardens along this stretch, which can be either fun, tricky, or irritating depending on the water level.

There are public ramps at Blue Ford, about 6 3/4 miles from the put in. There is a ramp on the NW side of the river, accessed by Clarence Taylor Rd; a steep carry-up on the SE side, accessed by County Rt 1/1.

There are a lot of fishing camps along this part of the South Branch, and it gets crowded and loud on holiday weekends. Mid-week it is all yours to enjoy.

There is limited cell phone coverage in this area. Check the Springfield gauge online - if the water level is less than 1.5 feet you will be walking your boats and dealing with tricky rock gardens.


None. Pack out your trash.




I-68 to Cumberland MD, then WV State Rt 28 south to Springfield WV.

Follow County Rd 3/Springfield Slanesville Pike (don't make the right curve toward Romney, go straight). Stay on this road for about 2 miles, you will be along the river. Look for the pull off on your right.


DeLorme's WV Atlas; WV Division of natural Resources Guide to Public Stream Access on the South Branch of the Potomac. A Hampshire County road map or program would be helpful if you are new to the area, as the access points can be way off the beaten path.

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

Locations on this Trip