As the crisp air of autumn settles over the Shenandoah Valley near Harpers Ferry, WV and the hillsides take on the brilliant fiery tones for which the valley is famous, River and Trail Outfitters begins its fall colors trips by raft, canoe, kayak, hike, and bike. “Thirty years ago, we started telling the motoring public to get off the highways and onto the rivers for a new look at the fall colors, and they have responded in growing numbers,” says Lee Baihly, owner of River and Trail Outfitters, located only one hour from Washington DC and Baltimore beltways and minutes from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
“From the perch of a raft, canoe, kayak or hiking or biking you can concentrate on the golden and scarlet hues of the changing leaves and you don’t have to turn your attention to what’s coming down the road,” says Baihly. The high point of our river trip is when the Shenandoah enters the Potomac Water Gap at Harpers Ferry at the culmination of the Shenandoah Valley. While the water reflects the multicolored trees along the bank, far above the river stand the many rock outcroppings and cliffs that jut out of the rust-colored hilltops. “If your eyes are drawn away from this magnificent scenery, they are usually diverted toward the river itself as you and your guide navigate the rapids along the Shenandoah and Potomac.”
The raft trip, according to Baihly, is a half day of beautiful surroundings and Class I, II, and III whitewater that requires no previous experience. River and Trail Outfitters provides qualified guides, U.S. Coast Guard approved safety equipment, a riverside picnic, and transportation to and from the river. “If you wish to have a more personal experience in a boat on the river, you can explore the many waterways that are open to a canoe or kayak during the fall,” says Baihly. “Our canoe and kayak rental program maps out the Shenandoah, Potomac, and their tributaries for one- to seven-day paddles.” Join River and Trail Outfitters on a raft, canoe, or kayak trip for a fresh look at the fall colors from the river’s point of view.
“Sunday was a perfect day for paddling. The sun was warm and shining brightly as it glistened on the water and brought out the beautiful red, orange and yellow colors of the leaves all around; it was absolutely picturesque!”