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Shenandoah River - South Fork

Shenandoah, Cowpasture, and James River fish kills update

The South Fork Shenandoah River begins at the confluence of the North River and South River near Port Republic and flows north 97 miles to meet the North Fork Shenandoah at the Town of Front Royal. The South Fork Shenandoah watershed covers 1,659 square miles. Surface runoff from the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, parts of the Allegheny Mountains, Massanutten Mountain, and ground water from the karst regions of the Shenandoah Valley and Page Valley make up the flow of the river. The South Fork is a fifth order stream and averages around 100 feet in width. The substrate of the river varies from bedrock to cobble and boulder. Several species of rooted aquatic vegetation are found throughout the river. This vegetation can become quite dense during the summer months. The South Fork is typically low gradient, but does produce some class I and class II rapids. There are three low-head hydropower dams located on the South Fork Shenandoah. Dams at Shenandoah, Newport, and Luray are owned by Allegheny Power and operated as run-of-the-river hydropower projects.

The South Fork Shenandoah is a very popular destination for canoeists. The close proximity of the river to urban areas of Virginia and the aesthetic beauty of the valley attracts thousands of river users each year. Several canoe outfitters operate on the South Fork and canoe/tube traffic can be heavy on certain sections of the river during the summer months. Twenty (20) public access points along the entire length of the river creates the opportunity to plan many different float trips of varying distances. Except for the public access points and small sections of George Washington National Forest land on the west bank of the river, the majority of the land bordering the river is private property.

Riverton Boat Landing Dedication