My wife and I have been invited by my good friend and his wife, to join them at River Song Cabins in Fries Virgina, near Galax, on Memorial Day weekend. Can anyone tell me anything about this part of the New River, best areas to kayak, places to see, etc. Seen some pictures, the area looks beautiful!

Hidden Jewel!
I lived in that region for a little over 5 years–IMHO it is truly a hidden jewel. Too bad you’re not going in August–the Galax Old Time Fiddler’s Jam is great fun!

You can ride the New River Trail into Pulaski. It’s a relatively quiet trail…mostly bikers with some hikers and horses. You can paddle along the New River (there is an outfitter at Foster’s Falls that used to run drop-off & pick up with your own boat).

I also liked to paddle at Claytor Lake (, but be warned it is busy with motor boats and jet skis, so go early.

Take a bike and ride the Trail. It’s pretty flat and the scenery is nice–cool shade along most of it, and it crosses the river several times, often on impressive old bridges. An even better trip is slightly southeast of Fries, in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

TONS of hiking, with the AT interlinking with dozens of other trails, plus a ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail from White Top Mtn. to Damascus can’t be beat. For about $20 an outfitter will rent you a bike and give you a ride to the top…then you criuse downhill back into Damascus. (My recommendation is to use Adventure Damascus–I’ve used them for both bike and hike shuttles for the last 6 years, friendly folks!) On the web at:

Have fun!

thanks for the info, I’m really looking forward to the trip.

New River
Ognup, in 1999 I did a solo canoe trip on the New in VA from the NC border to the WV border. Since then I’ve been back several times to do smallmouth bass fishing floats. I can’t tell you much about trails but the river is beautiful. From Independence to Fries is about 30 river miles of class I-I+ riffles (maybe class II in higher water), with several floats from 3 to 12 miles. From the Fries dam to the Byllesby dam is 7 miles and has a long class II (Double Shoals) which is probably pushing a III at high water. Byllesby dam to Buck dam is only 2.5 miles but Buck Rapid is a class III (wind shoved be into the left hand chute and I almost pinned in a strainer the only time I ran it) From Buck dam to Austinville is about 7 miles of class I-II.

This should pretty much cover the area you talked about. If you go below Claytor Lake, the McCoy Falls to Pembroke section (8.5 miles)is probably the prettiest section on the river. It is mostly class I and easy Class II (if you put in below the falls, which is a III). The 7 mile stretch from Ripplemead to Bluff City has the most whitewater (Class II-II+) and is the only section in VA that reminds me of the New in WV between Sandstone Falls and Thurmond.

Hope this helps and hope you have a great time!!!


I really appreciate the info, thanks.