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South Branch Potomac River in West Virginia

Trip Overview

Ran "The Trough" section, about a 6-mile stretch between two ridges. Water was low, so had to drag our boats a few times over gravel bars. No big headache. Long quiet stretches broken up by small rapids.

Saw a few bald eagles, numerous kingfishers and a few herons. This stretch has high scenic value, and you see only one house the whole trip.

Of particular note are the massive sycamore trees, and the displays of geology along the run.


Access points are well-maintained and safe.


No fees, no permits.


To the put-in:

Take Route 220 north of Moorefield, WV, go right on Cunningham Lane just outside town (before crossing the South Branch Potomac River bridge). Here you may put in, as there is a launch at the intersection. We launched further up. So, travel Cunningham to Trough Road, make a left, look for the "Stream Access" sign a few miles up. Follow the dirt road to the launch, which is very nice.

Take out at the Stream Access next to the Trough General Store about 9 miles further north on Trough Road. The store rents canoes and kayaks (we have our own).


West Virginia Gazetteer

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

Locations on this Trip