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Soggy Bottom SUP Tour: Day 5

Mike Peery, first day on paddleboard at Lake Moomaw

Lake Moomaw Area information:

Launch sites: The US Forest Service maintains three launch sites on the lake, Fortney Branch, Cole’s Point and Bolar Flats, $3 fee
Paddleboard rental nearby: BYOB – bring your own board
Nearby lodging:  Camping at one of three camping areas in the area
Dining options: bring your own or nearby by in Covington or Hot Springs (15 minutes away)
Other nearby area activities: Mountain Biking, Fishing and Hiking

Third stop – Douthat State Park
We arrived at Douthat Lake late in afternoon; the lake is located about two miles from the entrance gate to the park. I started my paddle session from the boat launch area; this is a great launch site, easy launch, restrooms onsite and plenty of parking. I headed down the right side of the lake, the water was a little cloudy and the visibility was about three feet, the water was calm with very little wind reaching the lake surface, the water temperature was 72 degrees. I paddled past the swimming area, by the lakefront restaurant and on past the dam/spillway area; the lake had quite a few kayakers and a few other small rowboats out enjoying the beautiful afternoon sun. I paddled back up the lake by the waterfront campground and loaded up and headed to the next stop the New River near Radford, Virginia.  Douthat is nice state park, they have plenty of recreation options and cabin & camping options for a weekend or midweek getaway in the mountains of Virginia. Douthat Lake is good location to learn to paddleboard with the being small lake, very little wind reaching the lake surface and no other boats except kayaks, canoes and rowboats allowed on the lake.

Douthat Area information:

Launch site: Boat launch area, $3 fee
Paddleboard rental nearby: BYOB – bring your own board (maybe paddleboard rental next year at beach concession)
Nearby lodging:  Cabins at the park, camping at the park and motels in nearby Clifton Forge/Covington (10 minutes)
Dining options: Lakefront restaurant at the park, or family restaurants/fast food in Clifton Forge
Other nearby area activities: Mountain Biking, Fishing and Hiking at park

Forth stop – New River near Radford, Virginia
As we exited I – 81, just before the I- 81 bridge, the New River came into view, the road continues along the river past the public access and boat launch area which is located just below the Claytor Lake dam and the area that The Little River and The New River merge, this area is popular with fisherman and river ponds up from below the dam until the I – 81 bridge, it is about 1.5 miles of flat water which works out for a quick paddle session on the New, (since we missed the New at Hinton, West Virginia due to water releases). As I am unloading the paddleboard the sun is setting just above the dam, I head out along the shoreline towards the area where the New and Little River merge, I get a nice view of the sunset before it sets behind the mountains. The water is cloudy, very little visibility and about 70 degrees, the launch had a lot of debris and mud from the heavy rains earlier in the week, this was a quick easy opportunity to paddle the New. Normally the water continues would have been much better. I load up and head to Claytor Lake for the evening.

Radford Area information:

Launch site: Public access & boat launch area below I – 81 bridge, free
Paddleboard rental nearby: BYOB – bring your own board
Nearby lodging:  Radford motels & hotels
Dining options: Sportsman Snack Bar near launch, in Radford (5 minutes away) Sal’s (Pizza & Pasta), Taco Inn (Mexican)
Other nearby area activities: Fishing, Hiking, Mountain Biking

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