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Rappahannock River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Day Trip Report
Trip Dates: July 2003
Nearest City: Fredricksburg, VA
Difficulty: Moderate
Submitted by: LooneyTick View Profile


The trip begins at the historic river crossing of Kelly’s Ford that was once an Indian village, an early 1800's manufacturing village, and a famous Civil War crossing, There is now a public boat launch. The first five miles are gentle water with a good current. There are no rapids except for an occasional Class I riffle. After five miles, you come under a power line. This is approximately the halfway point to the campground. The next two miles are very slow until you get to Snake Castle Rock rapids. Snake Castle Rock is a large rock outcropping on the left side of the river at the beginning of the rapids. The rapids are about a half-mile long with a series of drops and rock gardens. All of the rapids should be taken on the left, as that’s where the open channels are. After each drop is a nice sandy beach to pull over and swim, fish or picnic.

After Snake Castle the river is slow until you get to the islands just before the campground. There, a fun set of rapids form that should be taken on the right, to bring you right up to the campground’s boat launch. Numerous signs are through this section pointing the way. This is a perfect day trip. It’s not too long and not too short. There is no pressure to make a pick up time, and hot showers are waiting for you. Many prefer to camp and relax to complete their day. This was a very nice change of pace for a flat-water paddler.


From I-95, take exit 130-B at Fredericksburg (Rt. 3 West toward Culpeper). Go 7 miles and turn right on Rt. 610 (Eley’s Ford Road). Go 9 miles to Richardsville. Make a right turn on Rt. 619 (Richards Ferry Road) and travel 2.7 miles. Turn left at Rt. 683 (River Mill Road) and go 1.4 miles to the sign on the left for the campground.


Primitive camping sites hot showers and a camp store. is the web site for the campground.

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