Canoeing the Shenandoah River

Canoeing the Shenandoah River 1

I’ve recently moved less than a mile away from the beautiful waters of the Shenandoah River. As I was planning our first canoe trip of the season, I browsed through the pictures of our last Shenandoah adventure and decided to include them here at As I looked through the pictures, I had a difficult time narrowing them down to the few that I have added here. The whole trip was beautiful and there were quite a few pictures that I’d like to share but I’ve narrowed it down to these few.

Shenandoah River 1

Where do I begin this story? Do I begin with a college graduation, a marriage proposal, a windshield completely covered with bugs, Germany Valley, or camping with too little cold weather gear on a frigid night? I suppose that I should begin with the Shenandoah River Outfitters in Luray, Virginia. We booked the campsite and the canoeing trip through them. Their service was phenomenal as they were knowledgeable, friendly and provided everything that we needed for a reasonable price. After our second night’s stay, it was time for our day on the river. We left the Land Rover at the take-out point and the outfitter provided a ride to the put-in. As we rode along the river, I noticed the calm and friendly attitude of the driver and wondered if it had anything to do with the rolling papers on the dashboard of the truck.

Canoeing the Shenandoah River 2

The outfitter quickly unloaded an Old Town Penobscot and carried it to the river for us. All we needed to do was step in and start paddling. We made our way to the middle of the river and found a decent current, the paddles were mostly for steering only as we were in no rush to get anywhere. We saw an Eastern Painted Turtle on the riverbank and paddled back upstream to get a decent picture. The paddling was tough upstream. If we had known that we’d see well over one hundred turtles further down the river, we would have certainly let the opportunity pass.

Eastern Painted Turtle

Eventually, we found our paddling tempo and the peace-of-mind only found in a canoe. Paddle on the slow moving water, steer through the current and relax as much as possible.

Canoeing the Shenandoah River 3

The Shenandoah is truly a beautiful river that is ideal for canoeing. The scenery is beautiful and the water moves at the perfect speed for passing away a day of leisure.

Shenandoah River 2

Along the Shenandoah’s banks, there are quite a few farms with beautiful farmhouses overlooking the river. At several locations, the cattle were standing in the river enjoying the cool water on a hot day.

Cows on the Shenandoah River

Of the several snakes that we saw throughout the day, we made a point to paddle close to this one as it swam toward the bank and found a comfortable spot behind a rock.

Sneaky Snake on the Shenandoah River

As the day passed along, the sky became an intense blue which made beautiful reflections on the river.

Shenandoah River 3

We took every opportunity to photo the variety of birds and wildlife along the trip.

Shenandoah River 4

Shenandoah River 5

Eventually, all good things must end and a peaceful canoe trip is no exception. We stalled. We postponed. We took breaks. We stopped paddling entirely. But eventually, we reached the last section of the river and saw the take-out point just upstream. We drug the canoe up the boat ramp and left it set. The outfitters would pick it up and shuttle it back to the campground later. Exhausted we returned to camp for a dinner cooked over an open fire and our last night alone at the campground.

Canoeing the Shenandoah River 4


6 thoughts on “Canoeing the Shenandoah River

  1. Hope to make it out there someday! If you’re ever in the west, check out my 2 favorite canoe/camping trips. The Upper Missouri in Montana and the Ross/Diablo waterway in the North Cascades WA state. Both are beyond fantastic!

  2. Pingback: Canoeing the Greenbrier River (Day 1) |

  3. Pingback: Canoeing the Greenbrier River (Day 2) |

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