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Washington and Lee University

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Canoeing and Kayaking

Whitewater Sports on the James and Maury

The Shenandoah Valley is a mecca for whitewater sports.  Canoeing, kayaking and rafting one of the area rivers is a must.  There are many rivers within a short drive of Lexington.  These include the: James, Maury, New, Potomac, Shenandoah, Rappahannock and Gauley rivers. 

On this site we'll cover a portion of the Maury and James.  In the Outing Club Guidebook you'll find complete guide and description of the Maury, James, New and Gauley rivers with descriptions and maps.  You'll also find roadmaps to the put-ins and take-outs. 

Safety First

While whitewater can be fun it can also be dangerous.  The following safety tips are from the American Canoe Association Instruction Manual:

  • Life Jacket - It's the law.  One per person, certified and appropriate to the type of run on the river.
  • Never Boat by Yourself.  A group offers more efficient rescue and security.
  • Know Before You Go. Make sure you or someone else knows the river.
  • Scout Ahead. If there is a question of what is ahead, check out the rapid.
  • Know Your Limits.  If you aren't comfortable with a rapid, walk around it.
  • Know the Weather and be Prepared.  Hypothermia is usually caused by a lack of preparedness.
  • Never Drink and Boat.  Make sure you save your partying for when you get off the river.

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