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Float Times for Kayaking the Roanoke River

kayaking-roanoke-river-with-roanoke-mountain-adventuresMay and June are two of the best months to paddle the Roanoke River. Air and water temperatures are typically comfortable and water flows are high enough to keep you off the rocks. We are lucky to have the Roanoke River coming right through town with many access points allowing for different length trips. Dan and James from Roanoke Mountain Adventures share some information from a recent float including trip times and some common sense safety tips.

April 27, 2015 report:

  • Water flow at Roanoke gage station – 626 Cubic feet per second. Gage Height – 2.22 feet.
  • Green Hill Park to West Riverside – 2.7 miles. Float time – 37 minutes.
  • West Riverside to Cardinal Academy- 2.1 miles. Float time – 25 minutes.
  • Cardinal Academy to Eddy Ave - .9 miles. Float Time – 10 minutes.
  • Eddy Ave. to Rotary Park – 1.7 miles. Float time – 22 minutes
  • Rotary Park to Bridge St. – 4.3 miles. Float time – 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Bridge St. to Wasena Park – 1.2 miles. Float time – 17 minutes.

Two recommended floats:

  • Green Hill Park to Rotary Park - 7.4 miles. Estimated trip time at 300 cfs = 2 hours, 20 mins.
  • Rotary Park to Wasena Park – 5.5 miles. Estimated trip time at 300 cfs = 2 hours.

Interactive Roanoke River Map

River Photos

The water is moving fairly fast at 600 cfs.  Flows for May average around 300 cfs with 250 – 600 being common and lots higher being possible.  Lower water levels will add to the trip time so plan accordingly. At 300 cfs, your float times might be  25-30 % longer than those posted above.

Common sense tips.

  1. Wear a good PFD.
  2. Know how to swim.
  3. Wear closed toe river shoes, sandals or tennis shoes. Flip flops are not recommended.
  4. Take  a dry bag for extra clothes, towel and cell phone. Combined air and water temperatures can still be low enough for the risk of hypothermia especially if you get wet. A cell phone is a good idea in case you have a problem or need help. Use a phone dry box or heavy ziplock bag to store phone in dry bag for extra protection.
  5. Avoid any obstacles such as debris and log jambs and strainers (natural or man-made objects such as trees and limbs that water is flowing through).
  6. Spring and winter floods can cause log and debris jambs especially in narrow channels on either side of an island. If you can’t see what’s ahead downstream, stop and scout it out before continuing.
  7. Know what your take out point looks like and how to recognize it using certain landmarks.

Roanoke Mountain Adventures offers guided kayak trips or kayak rentals and shuttles to get you out on the Roanoke River.

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Get Outside Weekend Update May 21-24

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, May 21

Friday, May 22

Saturday, May 23

Sunday, May 24

Monday, May 25

Tuesday, May 26

Wednesday, May 27

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Pete’s Pick: Cheer the Next Generation of Riders

Coyouth bike race roanokeme out Thursday, May 21 and cheer on young cyclists as they compete in the Fishburn Youth Mountain Biking Race Series.

Almost 100 kids took part in the race series for novice riders ages 2 to 14 last week (which is a significant increase over last year). And it is an absolute hoot to watch! Riders compete on a short, spectator friendly course against kids of their own age and skill level. Top finishers get medals and everyone is invited to stay for the post-race dinner.

Still not convinced? Check out this cool video from one of the previous races.

There’s nothing better than seeing our kids get out and enjoy the outdoors. Cheering them on at events such as this is a great way to show your support and encourage a lifetime of playing outside.

Hope to see you there!

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Run, Food, Wine and Win

jackson river marathon roanoke covington vaA few of the best events in Covington are all happening June 27 with the Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon, 10K, 1K and 1-Mile Fun Run and the annual Cork and Pork Festival.

While the race offers an opportunity for runners of every level to get out and experience the beautiful scenery on foot, the festival is a celebration of BBQ.

The 4th annual Covington Cork and Pork Festival is a BBQ competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. While the barbeque is front and center as the centerpiece of this festival, there will be entertainment, a wine tasting event and children’s activities. The festivities kick off Friday, June 26 (noon to 9 p.m.) and continue all day Saturday, June 27, in downtown Covington.

Registration for the Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon, 10K, 1K and 1-Mile Fun Run is open to runners, from beginners to experienced. The 5K option is new this year. The race will start at the Smith Bridge Trail Head and finishes near the festival.

And Roanoke Outside would like to help you get there with a free race entry. Just fill out the form below and let us know which race option you prefer – half marathon, 10K or 5K. The winner will be chosen at random and notified via email on May 28th.

Good luck!

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Bikes, Beers, and Pimps of Joytime

night riders ball bike roanoke

As bike month winds down, come out and celebrate with other cyclists at the Night Rider’s Ball at Martin’s on Saturday.

The event will feature one of the funkiest bands in the country – The Pimps of Joytime – in bike month’s biggest party. This show is too big to hold indoors and Luck Avenue will be closed to traffic with an outdoor stage so there’s plenty of room to party. Enjoy brews from New Belgium Brewery, free bicycle valet parking, vendors and more.

What’s even better? You can get in this show free if you do one of two things:

  • Take the Clean Commute Challenge.
  • Ride your bike to the show. (A bike valet courtesy of Ride Solutions is available beginning at 7 p.m.)
  • (Otherwise general admission is just $10.)

The event also includes a bike raffle of a New Belgium Brewing Fat Tire bike. The red and gold cruiser is built for comfort, perfect for enjoying a leisurely greenway ride, or taking a trip to the corner store for your favorite brew. Everyone who gets in to the show will get a raffle ticket.  Additional tickets will be available for purchase at the Bike Valet booth over the course of the evening. The raffle is at 9 p.m. and you must be present to win.

The Pimps of Joytime mash up 70s funk tones with modern beats for a fun and original sound. It’s sure to be a blast and a great way to close out bike month!

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Stand Up and Paddle

sup stand up paddleboard roanoke

Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP, is quickly becoming a favorite of people who want to get out on the water. Learn how to participate in this fun activity with a class from Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

The activity has been described as a mix between surfing and kayaking and is a fun way to change your perspective when you get out on the water.

Start the experience with an on-land lesson taught by a certified paddle board instructor followed by time in the water to practice and hone your paddling skill. Top off the practice sessions with a trip on the river to get a true SUP experience.

The class is designed for beginners, but to participate you need to know how to swim. All equipment, gear, and instruction are included. The group will meet at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center.

SUP Class

  • When: Saturday, May 23, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (other upcoming courses: 6/20 & 7/1)
  • Where: Explore Park
  • Register: $40, sign up online
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Get Outside Weekend Update May 14-17

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, May 14

Friday, May 15

Saturday, May 16

Sunday, May 17

Monday, May 18

Tuesday, May 19

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Pete’s Pick: Win FloydFest Tickets

floydfest tickets

There’s absolutely nothing like FloydFest. The music and outdoor festival is something to look forward to all year long.

If you have never been, this is the year to go. With musical acts like Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Drive-By Truckers, Trampled by Turtles and Keller Williams, there is something for everyone. And then there’s camping, hiking, paddling, biking and more activities than you can do in a weekend.

FloydFest 14 is July 22-26 and you can win tickets. This is our last monthly drawing for a pair of tickets for the entire weekend, so make sure to enter before WEDNESDAY, May 20. We’d love to see you there!

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

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Be Prepared for Anything Outdoors

wilderness classWe all love to play outdoors, but are you ready for a real adventure? A pair of classes at Explore Park will teach you everything you need to know about outdoor emergency preparedness.

Roanoke County Parks and Recreation, along with the nationally-ranked down river canoe team at Hollins University and Mountain Shepherd Survival School (featured on The History Channel, in National Geographic and The New York Times) have partnered to create two survival classes to ensure you come home from your adventures. The first land-based class will teach you emergency preparedness, using food as fuel, and proper clothing selection to get you ready for your adventures. The second, a river-based class, will focus on canoe strokes, river reading, trip planning, and emergency preparedness skills like effective fire building.

No experience is necessary. All is equipment included. An adult must accompany minors.

The first class is Saturday, May 16, and class No. 2 is June 6. Registration is open through Roanoke County Parks and Recreation. You can register for one or both classes.

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Compete for the Triple Crown in the Alleghany Highlands Triathlon

tri race

Start with a 5K run, then paddle 3 miles and finish with a 12-mile bike race in the 7th annual Alleghany Highlands Triathlon. It’s a trio of activities designed to test your mettle.

The event kicks off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, and if you are not participating, come out and cheer on the competitors. The race begins at the Sharon Community Center in Clifton Forge and ends at the YMCA.

The event is also part of the third leg in a triple crown series with the Greenbrier River Race and Lexington Road and River Race. The triathlon is described as “friendly” and might make a great spring race.

Registration is open or you can RSVP on Facebook.

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