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Roanoke, VA
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Upper Blackwater River Blueway

This is a 35-mile long blueway that has various trip length possibilities.  Starting in the headwaters of Cahas Mountain, the Blackwater River continues until it terminates in the backwaters of Smith Mountain Lake.  Very water dependent run so pay attention to the gauges.  Generally speaking you need at least 2.3 feet on the Blackwater gauge to make the run enjoyable.  Don't miss the section from US 220 to the Farm View Road ford as this section has a series of low Class II water that is a blast for beginner paddlers.

Information on the different sections of Upper Blackwater River Blueway:

  • Headwaters Section (5.5 miles - headwaters)
  • Dugwell Section (8 miles - ideal for families and novice paddlers)
  • Grassy Hill Section (2.5 miles - floatable year round)
  • Blue Bend Section (6 miles - remote, dam portage)
  • Middle Section (12 miles - mandatory dam portage 2.5 miles in)
  • Lower Section (8 miles - great fishing)