River & Trail

Rafting in virginia, maryland, & Harpers Ferry WV

The best white water rafting close to DC is in Harpers Ferry, WV on the border of Maryland and Virginia!

White water rafting in Harpers Ferry and western Maryland

50 years of experience – serving you best!

River & Trail Outfitters has been whitewater rafting at Harpers Ferry on the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers for 5 decades! Only one hour from the Washington DC and Baltimore beltways, River & Trail is the area’s longest established and most experienced outfitter.  Join us for our most popular rafting trip, passing by Harpers Ferry National Historical Park through the Blue Ridge Mountains!  These two rivers merge at Harpers Ferry, and form the state borders for West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. You really can say you went rafting in all three states!  

If you’re looking for more excitement, ride the waves on an inflatable kayak ducky adventure. Our experienced guides lead you throughout your trip, showing you the best route through the rapids while entertaining you with tales from the river. Harpers Ferry white water rafting adventures, pick the one right for you!

Side profile of rafters on the Shenandoah River - River & Trail Outfitters

Harpers Ferry White water Rafting

    • Daily rafting trips on the Shenandoah & Potomac Rivers
    • Our most popular half-day river rafting trip.  Complete with a light snack*
    • Class I-III rapids are great for ages 7+!
    • Raft through 3 states – West Virginia, Maryland & Virginia
    • Scenic views & wildlife on historic rivers
    • Starts at $60.  Kids 12 & under receive $5 off

?  Rafting FAQs: Top Questions on White Water Rafting

Harpers Ferry rafting in Inflatable Kayaks (duckies)

  • Get closer to the water with super fun, easy to paddle inflatable kayaks!
  • An exciting step up from the regular white water rafting trip at Harpers Ferry.
  • Recommended for summer levels.
  • Single inflatable kayak 
  • Starts at $60. Must be at least 12 yrs old and at least 90 lbs
River Rafting

Frequently asked questions for White water Rafting in Harpers Ferry- WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

So you’re going whitewater rafting and you don’t know what to do!  Here are answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about raft trips in Harpers Ferry with River and Trail Outfitters. Just follow these simple hints on these White Water Rafting FAQs to keep warm and have fun! Notice I did not say DRY:)

This raft trip takes you on two rivers and three states (Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia).  It passes right by Harpers Ferry National Park,  a picturesque renovated Civil War town.  Our guides are trained in some of the highlights in natural and Civil War history.  

Answer: A photographer will be taking pictures on most weekend trips and some weekday trips.  He normally take pictures of the raft going through one of the rapids.  We do sell  waterproof cell phone cases at our outfitter store.

Answer: Anywhere from 4-6 plus a guide, this depends on water level and group size.  If you have a group of less than 4, we will put you in another raft with another small party.  

Answer:  Like you, your camera will get wet. Things also have a way of going into the river, never to be seen again.  This being the case, we would suggest a sturdy strap and a waterproof camera. We do sell waterproof cases for cell phones and waterproof cameras in our outfitter store.  We will have a photographer taking pictures on some trips.  

Answer: A light snack is served riverside on all Harpers Ferry rafting and ducky trips.  A light snack consists of water, granola bar, applesauce.  We would recommend eating a hearty meal before your trip so you  have plenty of energy on the river.  Groups can customize the trip by adding a picnic option before or after they raft!

Answer: Please inform your reservationist before arrival of any physical or medical conditions of anyone in your group.  Also inform your trip leader prior to the trip.  We highly recommend you consult a physician prior to participating in our activities if you have any concern.  We advise all ASTHMATICS to bring their inhalers. We also advise that anyone who has allergies requiring an epi-pin to bring it in a water tight case. Note: We reserve the right to refuse anyone participating in our adventure activities due to physical, mental or size limitations that, in our opinion, would expose that person or group to extreme risk.

Answer: At River & Trail Outfitters, we have suggested ages for each of our rafting trips. Age limits will change depending on water levels and trip formats.

Suggested Ages:

  • Harpers Ferry Rafting  7 yrs
  • North Branch of the Potomac Rafting 10 yrs
  • Savage River Rafting 14 yrs

*Minimum chest size for a Type V PFD is 24 inches. Maximum chest size is 54 inches. Minimum weight for River & Trail Rafting Trips is 50bs.

Kids 4 & up can participate in Harpers Ferry tubing on the Shenandoah River.  Bring their own vest if they are under 50 lbs.

Answer: Know the weather conditions.

If the weather is hot and sunny, a bathing suit with t shirt and shorts works just fine.  Cotton, when wet, helps to keep you cool during those hot summer days.  If the weather is below 75 or 80 and it may rain, bring a rain or waterproof jacket.

During the spring & late fall season, if the air and water temperature (adjusted for wind chill) equal less than 100 degrees, it is important to dress for success.   Avoid cotton clothing, and wear synthetic, quick dry clothes with a waterproof jacket on top.

Rubber soled shoes that hook on your feet are always a must.

Our Outfitter Store will be happy to rent you a wetsuit when the weather conditions call for it.  

See What to wear rafting and tubing here.

Answer:  YES.  Always wear your PFD. Not only does this add another layer to keep you warm, it also keeps you floating should you decide to leave the boat mid trip.  Our U.S. Coast Guard approved PFDs are required by law, our insurance, and our company policy.  We will provide you with an approved PFD, so please do not bring one with you.

Be sure and eat a hearty meal before coming on your rafting trip.  Also drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.  There will be a snack and drink served on your trip, however we do recommend you bring a 32 ounce bottle of water with you in the raft.

Answer: Yes, just let us know at the time you make your reservation.

Answer: As stated above “Like you, your cell phone, wallet and keys will get wet. Things also have a way of going into the river, never to be seen again.” This being the case, we recommend that you DO NOT BRING THESE ITEMS ON THE TRIP WITH YOU unless you have a completely waterproof container. Our guided trips carry cell phones for emergency situations. We suggest that you lock your personal belongings in your car trunk and give your keys to our shop staff. Watches can be worn if they are waterproof. Keep in mind that River & Trail is not responsible for any of these items mentioned that are damaged by water if you choose to take them on the trip with you. We try to keep dry boxes and bags for cell phones stocked in our shop.

Answer: Yes. Online waivers are available to be filled out via your email confirmation and MUST be filled out. A new waiver must be filled out and signed for each day and for each activity before participating. Waivers can also be found under the waivers link on our website as well as onsite. Minors:  Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor and must have a parent guardian signature. 

Answer: The Bus. You are going to get wet. If you somehow manage to get through every rapid dry, someone is bound to take pity and dump a bailer full of water on you!

Bring as little as possible!  You do want to bring at least 32 ounces of water per person.  This can be kept on the floor of the raft.  If you need to have a little food with you, a small dry bag  with snacks can come with you.  We do sell waterproof pouches for cell phones and some dry bags, but please be advised that River & Trail is not responsible for any damaged or lost personal items.  

Answer: Both from the river and on land!

River & Trail’s white water rafting trip at Harpers Ferry, offers unique views of the town, Maryland Heights, and the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.  Guides are trained in some Civil War and natural history and add an interpretive piece to your rafting adventure.  It is also worth a visit to Harpers Ferry National Park to explore on foot.  Check out River & Trail’s Harpers Ferry page for more information. 

Answer: Each trip time has its highlights.  
Morning rafting trips tend to be cooler in the summer, which many people enjoy.  If there are going to be thunderstorms, they tend to be in the afternoon.  

Our 9:30am and 3:30pm weekend trips tend to be a bit smaller.

Afternoon raft trips provide an opportunity to enjoy the late afternoon to early evening river.  Wildlife may be more actively feeding and more easily viewed.

Thunderstorms are not uncommon predictions for summer afternoons.   When predicted, they only sometimes materialize.  Typically they pass quickly. 

Our whitewater raft trips run rain or shine since getting wet is part of the fun!  If there are thunderstorms before you get on the river, we will hold the trip and wait until the storms subside to launch.  

If we are on the river, we will pull over on land, and wait until the storm subsides before continuing the trip.  

Approximately 2 times per year, we may cancel a trip due to extreme weather.  

Each season has its highlights. 
During April and May, the Shenandoah & Potomac river levels tend to run higher.  This makes for a faster-paced and exciting trip with more whitewater action.  Even so, river levels are often still perfect for rafting with kids.   Spring provides a lovely view of the blooming Blue Ridge from the seat of a raft.   Wetsuits are available in April as needed.

Summer rafting brings warmer river temperatures and more time for floating in the river.  River levels vary depending on the amount of rain.  During periods of lower water, the rafting trip takes place on the Potomac River gap by Harpers Ferry.

September & October rafting generally present with more clear blue skies and water.  River levels vary depending on the season.  River temperatures tend to remain warm.  Wetsuits are available for rent during the October season as needed.  As the leaves begin to change on the trees, the autumn is a truly scenic and less crowded time to enjoy river rafting .

River Levels and Flows

River and Trail Outfitters uses the following river gauges to determine water levels for our rafting, tubing, canoeing and kayaking trips in the Harpers Ferry, West Virginia area on the Shenandoah River, Potomac River, and Antietam Creek. We hope you will make use of them too!

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