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A Variety of Waters in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Smith Mountain Lake Community Park: Matt Ross – Franklin County Parks & Recreation

While Virginia’s Blue Ridge is celebrated for its breathtaking mountain panoramas and thrilling hiking and biking trails, it’s also a haven for some of the best paddling and water adventures in the nation. From large lakes to small creeks, the region’s waterways offer diverse experiences, beckoning with serene paddling, exhilarating whitewater rapids, and opportunities for fishing, swimming, and wildlife observation.

Roanoke River Blueway: Jennifer Griffin | Visit VBR


Discover Urban and Rural Landscapes

Consider Carvins Cove, featuring a pristine 600-acre reservoir, for embarking on a day filled with paddling escapades. Whether you favor kayaking, rowing, or stand-up paddleboarding, Carvins Cove offers options to suit your preferences. Rentals for kayaks and rowboats are also available, facilitating effortless exploration of the reservoir’s beauty. 

Craig Creek invites you to weave through its cascading waterfalls and uncover secluded swimming spots tucked away in Virginia’s verdant wilderness. Embark on an exhilarating journey along this rugged waterway, tailor-made for kayakers craving an off-the-grid escapade.

Named the Best Urban Kayaking Spot in the nation by USA Today, the Roanoke River Blueway’s 45-mile waterway provides a distinctive paddling adventure right in downtown Roanoke. Glide through a vibrant cityscape juxtaposed with stunning natural scenery. Discover secluded coves and encounter a variety of wildlife, all conveniently accessible amidst an urban setting.

Upper James River Water Trail: Twin River Outfitters | Visit VBR


Experts will delight in the multi-day overnight paddling trips on the Upper James River Water Trail offered by Twin River Outfitters. This friendly business also offers tubing and kayaking trips, and shuttle services on the James River.

A Basecamp for Recreation

Virginia’s Blue Ridge offers a plethora of outdoor adventures, from hiking the Appalachian Trail to scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and mountain biking and camping in the Jefferson National Forest. Explore iconic landmarks like the Roanoke Star atop Mill Mountain, surrounded by Mill Mountain Park’s scenic trails, views of Downtown Roanoke, the Mill Mountain Zoo, and the Mill Mountain Discovery Center. Don’t miss the chance to experience the region’s vibrant culinary scene with a visit to the breweries, wineries, and distilleries along the VBR Cheers Trail!

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