Rappahannock River - Upper - Maps & Access

Boating activity above the fall line in Fredericksburg is limited to smaller vessels such as canoes, kayaks, and hand-carried johnboats. Access to the Rappahannock River is detailed below.

U.S. 211 Bridge to Old U.S. Highway 29 BridgeMap

The Rappahannock River is considered a public waterway from the U.S. 211 Bridge to the Chesapeake Bay, yet there is no formal access point above the Kellys Ford launching ramp downstream from the U.S. 29 Bridge. Several secondary roads cross the river between the U.S. 211 and 29 bridges, but using these sites to gain access to the river is subject to the approval of private landowners. Most river goers, entering or exiting the Rappahannock at the Old U.S. 29 Bridge, park at Ande's Store on the Remington side of the river. Again, make sure to get permission from the property owner.

Old U.S. Highway 29 Bridge to Kellys FordMap

This 4.5-mile stretch of river includes the famous Kellys Ford Rapids, which are popular amongst beginner and experienced canoeists alike. Individuals often run the river several times in a single day. The rapids, depending on the river's current height, range from Class II to III. The Kellys Ford launch and parking areas are on the south, or right, side of the river going downstream. There is good bass fishing both above and below the rapids.

Kellys Ford Access Point to Motts Run Access PointMap

This is the most popular float trip on the Rappahannock, but also the longest—two full days (25 miles). Access is off of the Secondary Route 620 on the south side of the river. Going downstream, both access points are on the right. Parking is available at both access points. Near the confluence of the Rapidan River, which flows in from the south (or on the right side of the Rappahannock going downstream), there are some Class II rapids. Approximately six miles of the C. F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area border the north side of the river just below Kellys Ford, and the city of Fredericksburg owns 4,800 acres at various points along the river. Check with David King at (540) 372-1023 to view city maps. Many parcels of city owned river land are available for camping.

Elys Ford Access Point on the Rapidan River to Motts Run Access PointMap

The Rapidan River is mentioned here as it offers a much shorter trip to Motts Run Access Point. Anglers or canoeists can put in at Elys Ford Access Point off of Secondary Route 610 on the Rapidan, travel to its confluence with the Rappahannock, and float to Motts Run in a long day. The Rapidan is a spectacular and remote river that features rock gardens and Class II ledges. Those who want to make it into an overnight trip can camp on the city of Fredericksburg property near the confluence. Take out at Motts Run Access Point just off of Secondary Route 618. There is good fishing for smallmouth bass, sunfish, and a number of other species in the Rapidan River.

Motts Run Access Point to Fredericksburg City DockMap

The Motts Run to Fredericksburg City Dock float is a half-day trip or less (approximately three miles). This trip calls for portaging around Embry Dam, below which currents can move a canoe along quickly. The portage trail is located on the north (or left) side of the river, and it is well marked. Canoeists are advised to stay on the north side of the river as they approach the fast water of the fall line above the U.S. Highway 1 Bridge. There is some dangerous Class III or higher water on the south (or right) side. Otherwise, the fast water in this short section of the Rappahannock is not rated above Class I or II. The canoeist will encounter tidal water at the U.S. Highway 1 Bridge, but can exit the river at the city park on the right side of the river. To do so will require a long carry to a vehicle however. On the other hand, the City Dock is only a mile or so downstream on the right side of the river, where a vehicle can be backed up to the dock for loading. Some flat water paddling is required in the tidal water.

Public Boating Access at Rappahannock River

County/City Access Area Barrier Free Type Ramps Latitude Longitude Map
Culpeper Kelly's Ford Yes Boat Slide 0 38° 28' 37" N
77° 46' 51" W
Directions: From Remington, Bus Rt 15 S. (.5); L on Rt 673 (2.4);L on Rt 674 (3.3);L on Rt 620 (.1)
Fredericksburg City Docks Yes Concrete Ramp 2 38° 17' 47" N
77° 27' 11" W
Directions: City of Fredericksburg on Sophia Street
King George Hopyard Landing Yes Concrete Ramp 1 38° 14' 39" N
77° 13' 34" W
Directions: From Rt. 301 North of Rapp. River, West on Rt. 607 (4.5 mi.), South on Old Wharf Road, follow to Landing.
Middlesex Mill Creek Yes Concrete Ramp 1 37° 35' 3" N
76° 25' 28" W
Directions: From Hartfield, Rt. 3 North (.5); R on Rt 626 (3.1)
Middlesex Saluda Yes Concrete Ramp 1 37° 37' 21" N
76° 34' 54" W
Directions: Rt 618 North (1.4) of Saluda
Richmond Carter's Wharf No Concrete Ramp 1 38° 4' 17" N
76° 55' 26" W
Directions: From Warsaw, Rt 3 West (2); Rt 624 North (10.8); L on Rt 622 (2)
Richmond Simonson Landing No Concrete Ramp 1 37° 48' 25" N
76° 38' 1" W
Directions: From Farnham, Rt 3 East to Rt 608 South to Rt 606 to ramp
Spotsylvania Motts Run No Boat Slide 0 38° 18' 49" N
77° 32' 26" W
Directions: From Fredericksburg, Rt 3 West; North on Rt 639 (.9); L on Rt 618 (2.1)

Maps and driving directions may not work for all locations. Map information provided through Google is intended for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic conditions, or other events may differ from the map results.