Cart |

South Branch Potomac River in West Virginia

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

We put in where the South Branch crosses 28/220 down near Moorefield. There was a public stream access with a real nice easy put in right underneath the bridge. There's a little parking area right there that makes for convenient unload/load. The area is fairly visible to the road, which appears to be moderately traveled, so we weren't too nervous about leaving the car there overnight..of course there were a couple of vagrant-types sleeping in their car there, so take your chances.

We were going to do a three day 22 mile run downriver (north) into Romney, but the weather got pretty nasty on Saturday (steady rain toward heavy), so we did the 22 in two days...first day 8, 14+ on the second day. After just a few miles north of Moorefield we hit the "Trough." It was beautiful. Sweeping hills on both sides (hence the name). Some of the softer hardwoods were turning their leaves which made for some incredible long distance views.

About 8 miles north of our put-in we found some good camping sites on the east side of the river. They're up on a hill where the terrain levels off. There's good canopy for cover from the rain. It's public here so you can camp. The sites are used frequently by the look, but there were very clean with no litter or abuse. It was near perfect.

Day 2 saw the remainder of the "Trough," which was great. A bit after the Trough area the terrain is still amazing, winding around with some great views right up into Romney. The water level was okay most of the way, even in late September. Admittedly, there were three or four places on day one and eight or so places on day two where even lightly loaded kayaks had to be "leashed" along. Mid- to late Spring would have probably been perfect.

Insofar as rapids there are a few, albeit only three or four with any sort of challenge to them. As I recall day one (eight mile stretch North of Moorefield) saw one or two, with the rest being on the remaining 14 miles closer to Romney. I'm sure they would be a bit more fun with a higher water level. All in all it was a fun trip. I went with my Dad and brother-in-law. We're all fairly novice paddlers, albeit accustomed outdoors types, so gauge accordingly. Good luck!!


Camping area approximately 7 and 1/2 to 8 miles (paddling distance) north of the put-in. East side of the river a trail leads up into the woods to a level, cleared area.


Canoe and kayak.




Put in at Moorefield. South from route 50 from Romney Down South Branch road (which becomes Trough road), right at the end with the access point about 1/2 mile down the road where the river crosses. A well-marked sign is there.


Google Maps

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location