Any kayakers?

Ashton Woods

Any kayakers?

We’re looking for info on kayaking through the trough. Anyone ever done it or have any advice on where to put in and take out? Trough Outfitters is an obvious entry or exit point, and I’m sure a great resource, but they are closed for the season so I can’t get in touch with anyone.

8 Responses

  1. Matt & Amy Bernatz says:

    Thanks again for all the comments – we kayaked on Saturday, put in at McNeil and out at Trough’s. It’s a beautiful trip for sure. We were done in 2 hours and 10 minutes because that water was MOVING and there was only one opportunity to stop along the way because of the water levels, but we will definitely be doing it again.
    @Paul Graham, thanks for the hiking tips. we’ll be doing some of that next week and plan to hit up Dolly Sods.

  2. Matt & Amy Bernatz says:

    Thanks for all the comments. Trough Outfitters is closed for the season as of 9/14, so we won’t be using them now, but in general terms, I’m happy to spend a few bucks at a local business to jockey us around. We were hoping to give it a try this weekend given the rain, we were hoping the water levels would be up enough. The weather is supposed to be perfect. We are completely new to the area so aside from Trough outfitters, all of the places mentioned are foreign to me. I only just found the Walmart last week 🙂 It looks like there is a place to park and put in on clover drive off of Trough Rd, and from there we can kayak to the outfitters and take out at that boat ramp and that’s about 7ish miles/4 hours. Is this where you guys are referring to?
    I’m not looking for any kind of rapids or big drops – just a nice easy paddle, or small current to push us along.
    Alternatively, if the water is too low, I’ll take recommendations on any good hiking spots. Looking for something that doesn’t have us driving out to Blackwater falls or Seneca Rocks. Both beautiful and worth the trip, but trying to find little local spots too.

    • Ray Wolcott says:

      That put-in is the one we used. Shows as the South Branch Wildlife Management Area on Google Maps. It’s about 7.5 miles from there to the take-out at Calleva Trough Outfitters.

      Nothing tricky along the way; all Class I. The most challenging bits are at the beginning approaching the railroad bridge. Stay right there.

      Otherwise, the only challenge we encountered was the water level. When we paddled it, the USGS gauge at Moorefield was around 7.8 feet. Much lower than that, and it would have involved a bunch of getting out and pulling/pushing/portaging through the really shallow bits.

      USGS info here:

    • Paul Graham says:

      Matt and Amy,

      If you already haven’t taken your kayak paddle this weekend, the put in and take out points are exactly as you described in your question.

      We usually hike right in Ashton Woods. Drive up to the top of South Branch Mountain and ditch the car and start walking. There’s beautiful views everywhere. Our favorite place to hike outside of Ashton Woods is Dolly Sods. But it’s a bit of a drive on rather poor roads up to the top. Top speed of about 20-25 mph up the mountain. But, we’ll worth the effort. Especially now, with peak foliage season happening. Access to Dolly Sods is past Petersburg on Route 28, well before Seneca Rocks. Take a right onto Jordan Run Road and follow the signs.

      Paul Graham

  3. Ray Wolcott says:

    It’s an easy paddle, but as others mentioned, at low water levels there would be a decent amount of light portage required to pass the most shallow spots. Scenery is pretty and there are plenty of spots to stop for a rest/picnic.

    We put in at the DNR launch (South Branch Wildlife Management Area) on Trough Road, which is about a 7-mile float to the takeout at the Calleva Outfitter. We used them for shuttle service. We registered and paid online, which was a mistake. Definitely call and talk to them to make sure they’re *actually* running shuttles on any given day, regardless of what may be available on the website.

    Both the DNR put-in and the take-out adjacent to the Outfitter are easily accessible by car. There is public parking in both spots, so if you have two vehicles its easy to DIY.

  4. Kim Bowmaster says:

    We do it at least once a year and it’s a beautiful ride. Spring is best because the water flows a little more and you don’t get stuck on the rocks as much. There is no cell service for most of the trip and once you are past the put-in at Clover Dr (we usually do that put in vs 220) you are along for the ride until right past the outfitters. Plan on taking food and drinks, either way it’s typically a 4-7 hour excursion depending on where you put in, water flow, and how much you feel like paddling. We don’t use the outfitters, and instead just take our own kayaks with 2 vehicles.

  5. David Steckler says:

    Hi Amy–

    Trough general store will transport you up to the put-in on Trough Road (where the double yellow lines start/stop). Then you kayak back down to the store. It’s a six mile float. We’ve done it lots of times. The only trick is how high or low the river is at the time. If it’s low, you may have to portage the kayaks for a bit.


    • John Miller says:

      Done many times and nice trip (cross current at Sycamore Bridge). We like the Cacapon River from Cold Stream down through the canyon to Rt 27 bridge. Route goes over three dams (right,left,center right} plus great little spring waterfalls that you can go under to cool off and great view of Castle Rock toward end of trip. Can be done in 1/2 day from Cold Stream or 1 day and camp over night from Capon Bridge bridge and very remote (Deliverance)….lol


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