your paddlesports destination

Staunton (Roanoke) River in Virginia

Trip Overview

The Staunton River is a wonderful 11 mile run with lots of class I rapids and rock gardens. It has two class II drops that can edge toward III in high water. It is a river full of historical sites as it was developed in the 1700's for bateaux travel.

The put in is at a public park at Long Island ,VA, Rt. 761. There is about 1/2 mile of flat water and then you get to lots of rock gardens. Most boaters stay river left here, but you can run this section most anywhere if you don't mind dragging over some rocks. The river opens up and you paddle a mix of flat sections and rapids.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the old bridge columns. This bridge was burnt in the Civil War. There are also old cut channels and walls that now are great sets of fast small rapids.

About 7 miles down, you will see a dock jutting out of the right bank. Stay right, because even though the river is runnable all way across, the rapid on the right is awesome and is surf-able at most any water level (it's the only really good surfing wave on the river).

Near the end of the run, you will come to a rock that seems to span the whole river. Stop in the middle somewhere and get out and check out the run:
To the right is a cut channel, it's great for beginners.
To the left is a little more difficult, but lots more fun.
Better yet, run the right, pull back up & run the left!

Need a guide or a shuttle buddy? We make the run lots, as it is a dam release run and runnable 365.


Brookneal has 1 motel: THE BROOKNEAL MOTEL. It's not great (mom & pop) but it has beds and is convenient.

Just 1/2 mile south of the take out on Rt.501 is Crescent Restaurant. They have great home cooking, and the owner is a paddler (wet paddle wear is welcome).




Rt.501 between Lynchburg and Brookneal, VA turn onto Rt. 761 towards Long Island. At Long Island look for sign for VDGF boat landing. The take out is just down stream from the Rt. 501 bridge at Brookneal. It is also a VDGF public boat dock.


For the best description of the run, try "Virginia Whitewater," by H. Roger Corbett

As always, a VA. Atlas and Gazetteer is great, especially if you get lost.

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

Locations on this Trip