2019 Paddling Guide

As summer comes into view, here are 15 paddling experiences across the region that are making waves—brought to you by the destinations, outfitters, and organizations that can’t wait to see you on the water this year!

Knoxville, tn

Knoxville, Tn

Knoxville, Tennessee sits at the head of the Tennessee River, surrounded by rolling hills, lakes, and quarries. This outdoor destination offers adventure within a short driving distance mixed with the amenities of a thriving city. 

Launch your boat from downtown at Ned McWherter Park or Bicentennial Park and paddle down the Tennessee River. Get off the river at various points along the way to enjoy the greenways, trails, and playgrounds in the heart of the city. Spend the whole day at Concord Park. Less than half an hour from the city, you’ll feel worlds away. Paddle on Fort Loudoun Lake, swim off the beaches, and enjoy local music during the Summer Concert in the Park series.  

You’ll find plenty to do in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. Just minutes from downtown, there are more than a thousand acres on the waterfront to bike, hike, climb, and paddle. Over 50 miles of trail connect several parks in the city, perfect for those who want to get outside without traveling too far. Stop at the Ijams Nature Center for a hike around the old Meads and Ross Marble Quarries, nature programs, rock climbing, and a Navitat’s tree-based adventure park.

Look out for glimpses of blue heron and otters at Holston River Park as you paddle the Holston River, the longest tailwater in the Tennessee Valley. Get onto the historic French Broad River, the third oldest river in the world, at Seven Islands State Birding Park. Explore natural trails and inspiring views of the Smoky Mountains. 

If you left your boat at home, head to Billy Lush Boards and Brews for a paddleboard, kayak, canoe, or hydro-bike rental. They also offer classes and nighttime paddles with views of the city skyline after the sun goes down. River Sport Outfitters has all the gear you may need while in Knoxville. Float down the river in one of their boats or ride a bike along the more than 85 miles of greenway in town.

Be sure to try one, or several, of the amazing 80 restaurant options located within a square mile of downtown. Those of age should check out the up and coming brewery scene for a cold one after a long day outside. Brew Tours are also available. 

This pet friendly town welcomes the whole family to its trails, patios, and parks. Come find the perfect mix of fun and sun on your next paddling adventure to Knoxville, Tennessee. 


Townsend, Tn

Tucked away in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park sits Blount County, Tennessee, a quiet, but adventure-packed community that is home to some of the most cherished and unpolluted waterways in the country. Paddlers flock to “The Peaceful Side of the Smokies” during the summer months to explore the tranquil waters of the Little River and Chilhowee Lake, while relaxing against the fresh, mountain air.

Paddlers who are looking for either a thrilling adventure or a calm lull should make their way to the Little River. The spring-fed waterway provides rafters with a unique experience each trip due to changing waters. The 59-mile river is perfect for paddling, tubing, and fishing. Flatwater paddlers looking for the quieter parts of the class I river should enter the waterway beyond the Melrose Dam at the Old Walland Highway bridge. The Blount County staple will offer 10 miles of navigable water in normal conditions.

Townsend, Tn

If looking for a larger area to cover and explore, paddlers should head over to Chilhowee Lake for breathtaking views of the Cherokee National Forest and Foothills Parkway. The 10-mile cool water reservoir acts more like a river with its narrow, twisted routes. Paddlers are able to access the lake’s northern border through several boat ramps located along US 129. Once on the water, paddle over and check out the Chota Memorial site, an island that contains Cherokee nation artifacts. 

Entering its 25th season of providing unforgettable experiences, Smoky Mountain River Rat is your go-to tubing and whitewater rafting tour company. As Blount County natives, River Rat’s owners knew how special the Little River was and opened their tubing business to let visitors and locals alike experience the cool, refreshing waters on a hot day.

Turn to River John’s Outfitters for canoe and kayak rentals, plus fishing trips, for a chance to explore the Little River a different way. The seven and a half mile trip takes approximately three hours from the point of departure; however, it’s encouraged to take your time, enjoy the sites and stop to swim whenever you please. After your trip, pitch a tent and stay for the night on River John’s River Island. 

Stay Awhile 

After getting off the water, explore the towns of Maryville and Townsend for restaurants, entertainment, and activities fit for the whole family. With trails for all experience levels, hiking is a great alternative to explore the mountains. Some popular trails in the area include Middle Prong, Gregory Bald and Laurel Falls

When you get hungry, head over to Full Service BBQ for traditional southern grub. Located in an old gas station, the restaurant offers delicious food and gorgeous mountains views right from its patio. Looking to fine dine? At The Walnut Kitchen, each ingredient is locally sourced, providing a cultural experience guests have to taste to believe. 

If your summer calendar is open, consider visiting Blount County during these can’t-be-missed events. On June 21-22, Hops in the Hills will take on downtown Maryville for its fifth craft beer festival. Visitors will get to taste brews from some of the most popular breweries in the region. Also, attendees will have the chance to watch the Smoky Mountains light up with the Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival on August 17. Professional balloonists from across the country will light up the sky with a balloon glow at sunset.  

To experience the best waterways in the country, while enjoying the peaceful tranquility of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, plan your summer vacation in Blount County.


Barbourville, Ky

Barbourville, Ky 

Hop on the Cumberland River as it winds through Historic Barbourville, Kentucky. 

Visit in September for the sixth annual Cumberland River Challenge, hosted by Union College UCanoe and Barbourville Tourism. Race in a variety of categories, including kayak, canoe, and stand up paddleboard. Paddle down 15 miles of the Cumberland River, facing everything from flatwater to beginner Class II rapids. The race ends at the Thompson R.V. Park, a five-minute walk from downtown with covered shelters and a boat ramp. Partnering with the Explore Kentucky Initiative, the river challenge is part of the larger Kentucky Waterman Series. You’ll have the chance to earn points throughout the year. 

Walk through town and view the street murals that depict the history of the region and the people. While here, you can also take a historic walking tour in downtown Barbourville, Kentucky. Take advantage of the multi-use trails at the Turner Outdoor Center. The park is open all day, every day, and backcountry camping is free. Drive along the Boone Trace, Wilderness Road, and Warrior’s Path, some of the oldest roads in Southeastern Kentucky. 

Come for the race and stay for the history in Barbourville, Kentucky. 


Alleghany Highlands, Va

Alleghany Highlands, Va

Get lost in the mountains and waters in the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia. 

Grab your kayak or paddleboard and float the many lakes, rivers, and streams that make up the Alleghany Highlands Blueway. Explore the Jackson River and its many streams as it flows through the two downtowns, Covington and Clifton Forge, and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Follow the river on foot or bike as the Jackson River Scenic Trail runs for 14 miles along its banks. Paddle the Cowpasture River, with a few smaller rapids, before it turns into the headwaters of the James River. 

Visit Douthat Lake at one of Virginia’s oldest parks, Douthat State Park. Swim, boat, or fish on the 50-acre lake. Or explore more than 40 miles of top-notch biking and hiking trails, offering breathtaking views of the mountains. At the other end of the Alleghany Highlands, you’ll find even more paddling opportunities at Lake Moomaw. Located at the base of the Gathright Dam, the 2,530- acre man-made lake is perfect for boating all year. Camp in the national forest and sleep among the stars. 

Head to Alleghany Outdoors, located beside the Jackson River and Scenic Trail, for all of your gear needs while in town. They provide kayaks, rafts, tubes, and mountain bikes for a variety of adventures. They also operate a shuttle service, so you don’t have to worry about getting back. 

The Eastern National Children’s Forest is the perfect place to get your young one outside and exploring the natural world around them with easy hikes and towering trees. A trip to the Alleghany Highlands wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Falling Spring Falls. View the 80-foot waterfall from the overlook on Route 220. While you’re in your car, head over to Humpback Bridge. Picnic beside the bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as you listen to the sound of the stream flowing past. 

Spend the night in the area known for its deep railroad history. Stop into the Alleghany Arts and Crafts Center or the Clifton Forge School of the Arts to enjoy a number of classes or unique exhibits. See a show at the newly restored Historic Masonic Theater. Keep an eye out for several events in the area, including the Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon, Gran Fondo Alleghany, and Lake Moomaw Open Water Swim.

All of this, and more, is what makes this part of Virginia Uniquely Alleghany.  


Chesapeake, Va

Chesapeake, Va

Voted a Top Adventure Town in 2018 for its extensive waterways and trail systems, discover why Chesapeake, Virginia is a water lover’s dream. Whether your boat needs a paddle, sail, or motor to move, Chesapeake has something for you. 

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of paddling opportunities, from the Dismal Swamp Canal to the picturesque Lake Drummond. Get on the water with Kevin Fonda of Adventure Kayak Tours to explore the scenery and history of the area. Travel by land with the 8.5-mile paved trail that runs along the canal, perfect for walking, biking, and horseback riding by the water. Look out for Eagles, Osprey, Acadian Flycatchers, and more while you’re there. 

Play all day at Northwest River Park and Campground. Rent a canoe and paddle Lake Lesa or hike through the extensive trail system. Anglers of all experience levels can test their skills on the lake, stocked with catfish, trout, and bass. Extend your trip with a stay at one of the campsites or cabins on site. 

Watercraft of all kinds are welcome on the Intracoastal Waterway. Access city shops and dining options right from the water. Repair and store your vessel at Atlantic Yacht Basin, dock your boat and enjoy a meal at Top Rack Marina, or stop for fuel and repairs at Centerville Waterway Marina.

While you’re by the waterway, enjoy a picnic lunch or walk your dog at Battlefield Park. This tribute to the Battle of Great Bridge is the perfect place to soak up the sun and watch the boats sail past.

Walk, run, or bike across the two-mile South Norfolk Jordan Bridge. At 169 feet, it is taller than the Brooklyn Bridge and offers sweeping views of the area. Follow the Elizabeth River as it passes beneath the bridge and flows out to the Atlantic Ocean. The park at the base of the bridge offers easy access to the river and a free fishing pier for all. 

Take the whole family to the Chesapeake City Park for summer festivals, picnics, and more or head to the Destination Playground at Deep Creek Park, designed for children of all abilities and ADA-accessible. 

Only 20 minutes to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Norfolk downtown, Chesapeake has countless affordable lodging accommodations for your Coastal Virginia vacation.

See for yourself what makes Chesapeake, Virginia one of the Top Adventure Towns. 


Front Royal Outdoors, Va

Front Royal Outdoors, Va

Float the South Fork of the Shenandoah River with Front Royal Outdoors. There is a trip for everyone with their fleet of canoes, kayaks, rafts, paddleboards, and tubes.

With shuttle service included, you can sit back and let these experts handle all the details. Choose from a variety of trips, from a one-hour float to a three-day camping trip. If you want to bring your own boat, Front Royal will help shuttle your boat between your put in and take out spot. 

Keep a lookout for special events and programs offered throughout the year. Paddle the river as the sun sets with a guided trip as the sky puts on a show. Combine your paddle rental with one of several lodging options for a discount on your booking and views of the mountains. 

Before you get on the river, stop by the outfitter store for a fully-stocked selection of supplies. Grab a dry bag and sunscreen before heading outside. Fill up on pizza, hot dogs, and ice cream from King’s Eddy Grill. Call ahead for a packed lunch that will stay dry on the river.

Front Royal Outdoors has all you need to make your trip to Shenandoah the perfect getaway. 


Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Connect with dozens of scenic rivers and lakes through the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. 

Paddle among the marshes and cypress trees of the Lower Chickahominy River. Get on the water at Chickahominy Riverfront Park with year-round access for large and small watercrafts. Bring your own boat or rent a canoe or kayak at the park. Fish for largemouth bass, yellow perch, and black crappie from the pier or water. Spend the night at one of several campsites for easy access to the water. The park is in close proximity to the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area, and is a short ten-minute ride from the restaurants, breweries, and shopping located in and around downtown Williamsburg. Extend your visit with a trip to Busch Gardens.

The mountains are the perfect backdrop for Philpott Lake. Explore 100 miles of pristine shoreline from one of nine boat ramps on the water. The lake is one of Virginia’s premier destinations for catching walleye and bass. Surround by ten recreation areas and a state park, you will find hundreds of campsites, miles of hiking trails, and six beaches to explore.

Paddle the New River for 160 miles as it flows northward through a wide array of landscapes and ecosystems. Those looking for a thrill can find some major Class II and III rapids along the way while slower stretches allow you to take in the scenery. A number of experienced guides and outfitters operate along the river. 

Play all day on Laurel Lake and Russell Fork River at Breaks Interstate Park. Take advantage of the pedal boats, hydro bikes, and canoes available for rent. This park, which sits on the Virginia and Kentucky border, has 25 miles of hiking trails and 12 miles of mountain biking trails. Treasure hunt for over 60 geocaches hidden in the area or go on a guided horseback ride on the trails. Cool off at the waterpark with fun for the whole family on the waterslides, lazy river, and in-pool basketball. 

Discover the living creatures of the commonwealth with the Virginia Bird and Wildlife Trail. The interactive map features 65 trails where you can view birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and hundreds of invertebrate species. You can travel from the beaches and swamps of the coast to the forests and rivers of the mountains in search of wildlife. 


Virginia State Parks

Virginia State Parks

Find the perfect paddling spot in one of Virginia’s 38 state parks.

Make your first stop at Widewater State Park in Stafford County. Virginia’s newest park is located on the bank of the Potomac River and is only an hour south of Washington, D.C. The two boat launches are perfect for accessing the river or Aquia Creek with your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. Rent an ADA accessible kayak from the visitor center. Walk the Long Pond Trail as it follows the creek. Keep coming back as this park continues to grow and new trails are added.

At Shenandoah River State Park, paddle along the South Fork of the river with views of Massanutten Mountain and Shenandoah National Park. Do a short trip down the 5.2 miles of river within the park or extend your ride as the river continues flowing northeast toward Maryland and West Virginia. Explore 24 miles of hiking and biking trails or try out the new zipline with Virginia Canopy Tour. Spend the night at one of the riverfront campsites after a long day in the mountains. 

Get on Buggs Island Lake, Virginia’s largest freshwater lake, at Occoneechee State Park. Three boat ramps offer easy access to the water for paddle and motor boats alike. Fuel up and dock at the marina or rent a boat from Clarksville Marine Rentals at the main ramp. Just down the road, Staunton River State Park is the perfect place for paddling and star gazing. Between the Staunton and Dan Rivers and the lake, there are miles of water to enjoy. Slide down the 70-foot waterslide at the Olympic sized pool or rent one of the park’s Newtonian-reflector telescopes for the night. 

Cool off at Hungry Mother State Park in Western Virginia. Bring your own boat or rent one from the park. Swim beneath the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the 108-acre Hungry Mother Lake or fish for bass, catfish, and musky. Set up camp at James River State Park for mountain views and quiet forests. Rent a canoe, kayak, or tube from Outdoor Adventures Canoe Livery and take advantage of the shuttle service to paddle a full eight miles. View the James River Batteau Festival from the park. 

From the Chesapeake Bay to the Blue Ridge Mountains, there is so much more to explore when you visit a Virginia State Park.


Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Be a #Trailsetter and get on the water in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains!

The region is home to numerous rivers, lakes, and more than 150 miles of blueways that wind through the heart of the mountains and offer beautiful natural scenes.

Kayaking, canoeing, fishing, tubing, paddleboarding, boating, swimming…they have it all in Virginia’s Blue Ridge!

Start with the Roanoke River Blueway, perfect for paddling, fishing, and tubing as you float through towns and backcountry. Sixteen public access points along 45 miles of river allow you to customize your paddling experience. The blueway connects visitors to several parks along the way, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and Smith Mountain Lake.

Just off the river and parkway, Explore Park is a great spot for a whole day of activities. Launch your boat into the gorge from a riverfront campsite, enjoy 14 miles of mountain biking trails, or soar through the forest on swings, cargo nets, and ziplines with Treetop Quest, which is expected to open later this year.

Paddlers will love the sights and sounds of the Upper James River Water Trail, particularly the 59-mile stretch designated as a Virginia Scenic River. It’s a great spot to get on the water with the entire family, and some segments include Class I & Class II rapids, as well as scenic valleys and rolling farmland.

Hop on the water with Twin River Outfitters, the oldest outfitter on the Upper James River. They specialize in multi-day paddling trips with camping, including new riverfront glamping sites, and relaxing floats with the largest fleet of tubes in the area. 

For a relaxing lake experience, make your way to Franklin County, which is home to Smith Mountain Lake and Philpott Lake. Both locations provide outstanding opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, camping, and exceptional views. Franklin County also offers unique floating and paddling on the Blackwater and Pigg River Blueways.

Looking for more spots to cast your line? The George Washington & Jefferson National Forest features various options for classic creek fishing, including Roaring Run, North Creek, and Middle Creek in Botetourt County.

Local outfitters offering gear rentals and guided trips:

James River: Twin River Outfitters, Dead Drift Outfitters

Roanoke River: Roanoke Mountain Adventures

Smith Mountain Lake: Bridgewater Marina, Crazy Horse Marina, Gills Creek Marina

More Adventures

Don’t forget to check out the trails to see what makes Virginia’s Blue Ridge an IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center and America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital. At 12,700 acres, Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is the second largest municipal park in the country and a must see for mountain biking enthusiasts. Ride almost 60 miles of trails through forests and past the reservoir. Close to downtown, Mill Mountain Park features more than 10 miles of trails and picnic areas. 

Take advantage of more than 600 miles of hiking trails in the area, including the Appalachian Trail. View the valley from the top of Read Mountain, McAfee Knob, or iconic Roanoke Star and Overlook. 

When you are finished, cool off at Splash Valley Water Park with 34-foot slides and a current river. 

Toast to your adventures by visiting a few stops along Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail, the craft beverage trail featuring local breweries, wineries, and distilleries in the region. Experience the local craft flavors of Virginia’s Blue Ridge and download the special Cheers Trail Passport, providing you the ability to check in at each location for drink specials and prizes. 

With so much to do, you will want to keep coming back to Virginia’s Blue Ridge to experience it all. 


Calvert County, MD

Calvert County, MD

With the Chesapeake Bay to the east and Patuxent River to the west, Calvert County in Southern Maryland has 143 miles of shoreline to explore. 

Access the Chesapeake Bay via several public beaches in the area. Launch from the marina at Fishing Creek, a quiet waterway surrounded by wildlife and history. Stop by Chesapeake Beach Boat Rentals for a canoe, kayak, or standup paddleboard. Spend some time at North Beach after getting off the water, exploring the boardwalk’s ice cream parlors and little shops. Visit the North Beach Welcome Center for all the equipment you’ll need on the water. 

Paddle the Patuxent River as the water flows under the towering Thomas Johnson Bridge. If you left your boat at home, the Patuxent Adventure Center in Solomons has you covered. Bunky’s Charter Boats is a one-stop shop for anything water-related in Calvert County, including boat rentals, kayaks, tackle, and bait.

If you want to catch a glimpse of wildlife, launch from Jefferson Patterson Park. Hallowing Point Park, or Flag Ponds Nature Park. Keep your eyes open for bald eagles, osprey, red wing black birds, and more.

Surround by water, Calvert County is a paddler’s paradise.  


Frederick County, MD

Frederick County, MD

Get away to Frederick County, Maryland where you will find all the natural wonders the region has to offer with all the amenities of a city.  

Make your way down the Monocacy River, the perfect waterway for paddlers just starting out or looking for a relaxing float. Take in the grandeur of the Catoctin Mountains as you make your way past forests and farmlands. With 10 public boat launches in the county, tailor the length of your trip to fit your day. Hop on the Potomac River at the southern border of the county, an important river to maintaining the health of the Chesapeake Bay. This river offers everything from a mellow ride on a tube to Class III whitewater rapids.  

Head out of the city to Cunningham Falls State Park in the Catoctin Mountains and visit Hunting Creek Lake. During the summer, you can rents boats at the lake to explore the 43 acres surrounded by forests. Hike miles of trail, view the 78-foot cascading waterfall, the tallest in Maryland, and choose from over 100 campsites to extend your visit to the park. 

At Greenbrier State Park, boaters can access the man-made freshwater lake to paddle in the Appalachian Mountains. Hike through 11 miles of trails through a variety of habitats, including the Appalachian Trail as it passes through the park. 

Stop by The Trailhouse in Downtown Frederick for all the gear you will need, from tents and backpacks to climbing gear and paddling maps. While you are downtown, stop for a meal before making your way out onto the water. If you are looking for a guided trip, River & Trail Outfitters have an adventure for you. Whitewater raft on the Shenandoah River, tube or paddle down the Potomac River, cycle along the C&O Canal, or zipline high above the trees. Combine your paddle with drinks on one of their boat and brew tours. 

Stay Awhile

Hike, bike, or horseback ride through the mountainous Gambrill State Park. Three overlooks allow you to view the valleys below and the mountains in the distance. Fish for bass, bluegill, and catfish in the small pond, no license required. 

Visit the Carroll Creek Park from June through October to see the Color on the Creek water garden. Volunteers manage the garden, filled with more than 1,200 blooming lilies, lotus, and bog plants on the water. View the butterfly waystations at Kemptown and Utica Parks for a glimpse of the monarch butterfly as it makes its way south for the winter. 

Get up close with bison, sheep, and more on a safari excursion through the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo or bottle feed a calf at South Mountain Creamery before trying some of their delicious ice cream made with ingredients from the farm.  

Learn from important Civil War sites, including the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and Monocacy National Battlefield or ride into Downtown Frederick on the scenic Historic National Road, the first federally funded interstate highway. Enjoy a four-course meal in a vintage 1920s passenger car as the Walkersville Southern Railroad runs through the Maryland countryside. 

With over 200 boutique shops and unique restaurants in Downtown Frederick and 20 tasting rooms in the county, there is plenty to do at the end of the day. Spend the night at one of several major hotel brands, like Hilton and Marriott, in addition to other vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts right downtown or out in the country.

In Frederick County, you will find all the outdoor adventure you are looking for with a backdrop that can’t be beat. 


Raystown Lake Region, PA

Raystown Lake Region, PA

Whether you’re paddling the lake, walking through the forest, or simply breathing in the fresh air, make the most out of your trip during any season of the year to the Raystown Lake Region of Pennsylvania.

Raystown Lake is the largest lake entirely within Pennsylvania. With 118-miles of mostly undeveloped and wild shoreline, this paddling destination offers solitude from the city and scenic views. Bring your own boat or rent one from Rothrock Outfitters. You’ll find everything you need at Raystown, from campgrounds and dining to water skiing and evening programs. 

Stay on the lake with a houseboat from Seven Points Marina. Most rentals come fully equipped with a hot tub and slide. Dock at their marina or rent one of their pontoon boats for the day from this family-owned establishment. Catch a Proud Mary Showboat cruise at the Lake Raystown Resort. This resort has something for everyone, including the fishing guide services from Angry Musky Outfitters and a waterpark.  

Drift in an inner tube or paddle down the Juniata River. Two new public launch areas provide access to a 3.5-mile float through Jack’s Narrows, the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania. Paddlers of all experience levels will be drawn to the beauty of this river. Explore the gorge on foot with the Thousand Steps section of the Standing Stone Trail up Jack’s Mountain. More than 1,200 stones were used to construct the staircase to the top of the mountain. The entire Standing Stone Trail runs 80+ miles across ridgetops, connecting the Mid State Trail with the Tuscarora Trail.  

When you’re done on the water, ride the Allegrippis Trails for 36 miles of some of the best single-track mountain bike trails in the country or check out the Raystown Mountain Bike Skills Park. For a shorter stroll, head to the Greenside Pathway. This 2.5-mile loop was made from 30,000 recycled tires; connecting the Raystown Lake Visitor Center, campgrounds, beach, marina, and picnic shelters. There are hundreds of miles to explore by boat, bike, or foot, including Greenwood Furnace and Whipple Dam State Parks. 

Head below the surface into Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks. First discovered in 1930 and 1941, these caves provide views of towering flowstones, delicate stalactites, and sparkling crystals. The whole family will remember the wonders seen underground. 

With more than 135,000 acres of public land to explore in Huntingdon County, you’ll find plenty of space and things to do in the Raystown Lake Region of Pennsylvania throughout the year. 


Grant County, Wv

Grant County, Wv

Surrounded by soaring mountains and refreshing waters, Grant County, West Virginia is a summer paradise. As the gateway community to the Monongahela National Forest and Dolly Sods Wilderness, you are sure to find an adventure right for you.

Paddle the South Branch of the Potomac River as it flows from the Monongahela Nation Forest through the town of Petersburg. With a few Class I and II rapids, it is a great river for beginners and paddlers looking for a smoother ride. Don’t miss the Smoke Hole Canyon float trip featuring massive rock formations and soaring eagles. Extend the trip at Big Bend Campground with swimming, hiking, and camping for the whole family.

Spend a lazy day on the North Fork as you float down in a tube or fish for bass and trout. Mount Storm Lake, a 1,200-acre reservoir, is perfect for boating all year long. Jet ski, wind surf, or fish in this warm water lake. Launch your boat from the public ramp on South Mill Creek Lake and enjoy a picnic beside the water when you are done boating or fishing. 

No matter how you choose to play, you will find adventure and beauty in scenic Grant County. 


Tucker County, Wv

Tucker County, Wv

There are endless opportunities to get outside in Tucker County, West Virginia.

With several public boat launches along the banks, the Cheat River Water Trail is perfect for paddlers, tubers, and anglers alike. Choose from a variety of trips, from mild flatwater floats to adrenaline pumping whitewater rides. Stop by Blackwater Outdoor Adventures in St. George for the only whitewater outfitter in the county. With over 35 years of experience, they know the best spots on this river. The outfitter also provides other float trips on the Cheat and camping by the river. 

Start upstream at one of the headwaters for the Cheat. The Black Fork is a four mile stretch of flatwater, perfect for young and beginning paddlers. Depending on water levels, the Dry Fork River offers a variety of rides. With sweeping landscapes and wildlife aplenty, don’t miss this scenic river.

Hop on the Blackwater River as it meanders through the Canaan Valley. The river starts as wetlands in the upper section before the flow picks up and turns into moving water with a few rapids. Only expert, world class paddlers should attempt the Blackwater Canyon. An ADA-accessible boat launch in the Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge offers the perfect place to get on upper sections of the river. 

Spend all day exploring Blackwater Falls State Park. The iconic falls are a must see while you are there. At 62 feet, the waterfall is easily accessible from the boardwalk and viewing platform. Hike or bike more than 20 miles throughout the park, offering incredible views of West Virginia’s most visited park. Head down to Pendleton Lake to rent kayaks and paddleboards or fish for trout. End the day with a round of disc golf and spend the night at one of the many camp sites in the park.

With public lands making up more than half of the county, extend your stay in West Virginia. Choose your adventure at Canaan Valley Resort State Park. Relax by the pool, take in the views from the chairlift, or hike on the 18 miles of trails. The Monongahela National Forest provides over 900,000 acres of wilderness to hike, bike, fish, and explore, including the highest plateau east of the Mississippi in the Dolly Sods Wilderness and Scenic Area. 

At the end of the day, head into town for food, drinks, art, shops, and live music. Tucker County is the perfect place to spend all day outside. 


Adventures on the Gorge, Wv

Adventures on the Gorge, Wv

From lush mountain trails and tranquil lakes to majestic sandstone cliffs and world-class whitewater, the New River Gorge is a nature-made outdoor adventure mecca. 

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush combined with stunning scenery and a dose of local history, don’t miss your chance to raft through the heart of the New River Gorge. Packed with Class III-IV rapids and dotted with the ruins of historic mining towns, the Lower New River ends with unparalleled views of the iconic New River Gorge Bridge. Got kids? Consider rafting the Upper New. It’s just as scenic but the rapids are more family-friendly.

As epic as it is to raft through the New River Gorge, the rock walls that line the river are just as renown. With climbing routes ranging from perfect-for-first-timers to experts-only, you can scale the rocks of the New River Gorge regardless of your experience level.

As if world-class rafting and rock climbing weren’t enough, the area is also home to a network of top-notch mountain biking trails. Challenge yourself on miles of single-track routes through the lush forest or take a scenic ride on the rail trails. If you want to see more and work less, you even can explore the gorge on an electric-assisted mountain bike. 

Boasting hundreds of miles of scenic trails, the New River Gorge is a haven for hikers and trail runners. Take one of the many rim-side paths that lead to stunning overlooks or descend into historic mining towns set in the depths of the gorge. If you choose the latter, be prepared for the steep hike back to the rim.

When it comes to stand-up paddleboarding, choose between a tranquil day paddling through the pristine waters of Summersville Lake or an excursion below the New River Gorge Bridge. If you’re ready to step up the excitement, the region is also home to stellar SUP surfing spots. 

If you’re overwhelmed by the number of outdoor adventures waiting for you in the New River Gorge, rest assured you don’t have to go it alone. Adventures on the Gorge is there for everything from planning what activities best suit your group to offering you a cold beer and dinner after a big day of adventures. Plus, with onsite lodging, camping, stores, restaurants, bars, and a coffee shop, you won’t have to worry about the logistics—just show up ready for the adventure of a lifetime.  newrivergorgegetaway.com

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Places to Go, Things to See: