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Russell Fork Gorge Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip on the Russell Fork of the Big Sandy River

Russell Fork Gorge Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  Garden Hole Access Road
Take Out:  Ratliff Hole
Difficulty:  Class III , Class IV , Class V +
Gradient:  140 fpm
Run Length:  4 miles
Current Streamflow:  299 cfs @ 12/14/2016 01:30 PM - POUND RIVER BELOW FLANNAGAN DAM, NEAR HAYSI, VA, reading taken from USGS
Good Level:  125 - 1400 cfs
Streamflow Comments:  The only guaranteed water is when the dam releases on weekends in October. As a result, rafting outfitters only run trips on the weekends in October. To get the actual flow add the value from RUSSELL FORK AT HAYSI, VA
Season Comments:  January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Primary Season:  The only month with guaranteed water is October. Other than that, check the flows to see if it's floatable. The winter months can be cold but if there is water then it's runnable.
Character/Similar To:  Unlike the upper stretch, the gorge is for experts only. With many class III, IV & V rapids. The Russell Fork is free flowing and therefore the flows fluctuate greatly. Make sure it's flowing at the right level before heading that way.
Hazards:  El Horrendo rapid (class V+) with drops of 10 and 15 feet spaced closely together.
Water Craft:  kayak,wwcan,raft
Location:  In the Mid-Atlantic (KY,VA), of

Towns near Russell Fork Gorge Kayaking

Roanoke Virginia

Other Resources

Southeastern Kayak Clubs
  • Blue Ridge River Runners
  • Blue Ridge Voyageurs
  • Coastal Canoeists
  • Viking Canoe Club