Virginia.gov

Shenandoah River - Main Stem

Shenandoah, Cowpasture, and James River fish kills update

The Main Stem Shenandoah River is formed when the North Fork and South Fork converge at Front Royal, Virginia. The Shenandoah flows for 57 miles until it empties into the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The section of the Shenandoah which will be discussed is the 35 miles of river that lies within the state of Virginia. The section of the Shenandoah flowing through Clarke County is designated as a state scenic river. The Main Stem Shenandoah is a sixth order stream and averages around 150 feet in width.

The Shenandoah is typically a low gradient river, but there are some class I rapids produced at riffle areas. The substrate of the river varies from bedrock and boulders to cobble and gravel. Several species of rooted aquatic vegetation are found in the shallower regions of the river. This vegetation can become quite dense during the summer months. There is one dam located on the Main Stem Shenandoah River. Warren Dam, which is located immediately downstream of Front Royal, Virginia, is operated as a hydroelectric facility by Allegheny Power. Except for four access points, owned by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), the riparian area along the entire Shenandoah River is privately owned.