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

Upper Russell Fork Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  John Flannagan Dam
Take Out:  Garden Hole Access Road
Difficulty:  Class II , Class III , Class IV Only above 1500 cfs
Gradient:  28 ft/mi
Run Length:  4.7 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:  400 - 1500 cfs
Streamflow Comments:  The John Flanagan Dam is on the Pound River but reaches the confluence with the Russell Fork in 1.5 miles. 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:  This upper stretch is a good intermediate run. Although at high flows (above 1500 cfs) it becomes more like Class IV. 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.
Water Craft:  kayak,wwcan,raft
Location:  In the Mid-Atlantic (VA), of

Towns near Upper Russell Fork Kayaking

Roanoke Virginia

Other Resources

Southeastern Kayak Clubs
  • Blue Ridge River Runners
  • Blue Ridge Voyageurs
  • Coastal Canoeists