Shenandoah trip help

Hey all, some buddies and I are looking to do an over nighter on the river, maybe 20 miles total. We’re looking for a stretch up to or around Route 50 (say Front Royal to Harpers Ferry area), it could be further North or South if there’s a better option. Does anyone have a good route with a decent over night take out they’ve tried before? A couple of us will be in hammocks, a couple in tents. Thanks.

Nope, but have guidebooks
I’ve done some paddling trips out there but don’t really have a good, campable route for you.

Front Royal to Harpers Ferry is probably not what you want. Not sure about it these days, but the water quality used to be quite foul due to industry and sewage around Front Royal. Below Bloomery (Rt 9) there is a big pool that leads to a Class III rapid, and beyond that is a big hydro dam. The guidebook says the portage is always difficult and is extremely hazardous. I think they allow camping at the Millville put-in, a privately owned property where they charge paddlers a couple bucks to park and put-in for the Staircase, which has greatly entertaining rapids, if that is what you seek.

I think I would contact the Forest Service and learn about camping in the GW Nat. Forest, which makes up the left bank of the South Fork for much of it’s length. The guidebook mentions camping at Hazards Mill, 6 miles downriver from Route 663, but I didn’t find info on-line about that. Often, National Forests are freely campable. So, check that out.

Good luck and please post results–it’s a trip I’d like to make one o these days.


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