Everything you need to know about kayaking in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

man kayaking the Potomac River

What rivers are near Harpers Ferry?

The Shenandoah River merges with the Potomac Riverat the Point in Harpers Ferry , West Virginia.  The Point is actually the lowest point of elevation in West Virginia at 247 feet above sea level.

Is it safe to kayak in the Potomac River?

It is safe to kayakin Harpers ferry on the Potomac river? There are Class I-III rapids on the Potomac River where it flows by Harpers Ferry.  Proper whitewater gear is needed to kayak this stretch, such as inflatable kayaks or whitewater kayaks with a spray skirt.  On the other hand, the Potomac River just downstream of Harpers Ferry is a great place to kayak recreationally. 

A great option is Mellow Kayaking on the Potomac River. This trip puts in at the Brunswick Family Campground in Brunswick, Maryland, and takes out roughly 6 miles downstream at the Point of Rocks boat ramp. The trip takes roughly 2-3 hours depending on water levels. Entry level and experienced paddlers alike will enjoy this scenic stretch of river.

If you have never kayaked before, we recommend Park and Paddle on the Shenandoah River.  Parking at River & Trail’s location on the Shenandoah river makes this experience convenient and easy fun.  Hop in your boat and paddle upstream in a mellow lake-like setting. You have up to 3 hours to practice paddling around before coming back; enjoy the river for as little or as long as you like. Children 4-8 years old are free with a paying adult. 

Are there kayaking tours on the Potomac near Harpers Ferry?

Yes, there are guided kayaking tours on the Potomac!
Our staffs’ favorite trip is our Sunset Paddle on the Potomac River. It is the perfect mix of Class I-II+ beginner rapids with serene waters.   You will put in at Potoma Wayside where you will have a beautiful view of Harpers Ferry.  The take out is at Brunswick Family Campground which is located 4.5 miles further downstream. Paddlers will have to walk down a steep hill to the put-in, and it is helpful if you can assist in carrying your kayak down the hill. 

If you love beer and wine, our specialty beer and wine paddling tours are for you! After spending a few hours relaxing as you enjoy your guided paddle, end your experience with a visit to a local brewery or winery. 

River & Trail Outfitters offers two different winery tours or Water to Wine paddles.  The first is with Big Cork Vineyards where you are rewarded with a wine tasting and a cheese plate after your kayaking trip. Creek’s Edge Winery in Lovettsville, Virginia provides you with a delicious hot sandwich and a wine tasting post paddle. 

Smoketown Brewing Station and Abolitionist Aleworks are our hosts for the brew portion of our Boat & Brew Tours.   On the Smoketown Boat and Brew, after your kayaking trip, enjoy a flight of beer and a flatbread pizza. On the Abolitionist Aleworks Boat and Brew, enjoy a personal pizza, your choice of beverage, and a souvenir glass to take home. 

Where can I kayak in West Virginia on whitewater?

If you are looking for a more adventurous option, try a whitewater kayaking duckie trip. This trip is roughly 2-3 hours long, depending on water levels. You will go through class I-III whitewater rapids, the trip is guided, and you will be served a snack and water. If you happen to fall out, these inflatable kayaks are easy to flip back over and get back into. Guests must be willing to paddle for the duration of the trip, be physically fit, and able to help carry their duckies up a steep hill at the end of the trip. 


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