Current Conditions

Current Conditions for South Fork Shenandoah River

Updated For:
Sunday April 21, 2024
River Level:Normal
The River Level Is:Falling Slowly
River Temperature:58 degrees
Clarity:Light Stain

Open every day, seven days a week.

WE ARE NOW OPEN FOR THE 2024 SEASON. We are open every day, 7 days a week. Our hours of operation through the month of April are: 9am – 5pm weekdays (Monday thru Friday) and 8am – 6pm weekends (Saturday and Sunday).

The river remains in the middle part of our “Normal” range for today, just about an ideal paddling level. River clarity is good, but fishing is still a bit slow.

Weather for today (Sunday) looks cloudy and chilly with a high only in the mid 50’s. An occasional sprinkle of light rain can’t be ruled out. Monday looks sunny and a little warmer.

RIVER LEVEL TREND:   We experienced a pretty severe drought last summer (2023) which resulted in unusually low river conditions for much of the season. As of mid April ’24 the effects of the drought are easing with near average rainfall since the first of the year, but we had precious little snowfall this past winter. (Slow melting snow is the best way to recharge aquifers).

Paddlers in early Spring need to be aware of the risk of hypothermia. If you don’t have a waterproof dry suit to wear (expensive), dress in layers with moisture wicking clothing like nylon, polyester, polypropylene, wool, silk, anything but cotton which holds moisture (and lets face it, most of our clothes are cotton). Be aware that even on warm days cold water may still be a threat. SO WEAR THAT PFD ALL DAY.

REMINDER: stay HYDRATED, use SUNSCREEN, have adequate FOOT PROTECTION (covered toe river sandals or old sneakers)

Looking forward to another great year on the river.

Be advised river conditions can change rapidly with sudden storms or heavy rain in the upper watershed. Also, water temperature can vary up to 8 degrees or more in a single day.

To find out more detail about current conditions
click here to visit the Luray River Gauge

Over 5.5 feet – Too Damn High (risky)

4.0 to 5.5 feet – High (pushy)

2.4 to 4.0 feet – Normal (ideal)

2.00 to 2.4 feet – Low (slower)

Below 2.00 feet – Very Low (bumpy)

RIVER LEVEL DESCRIPTIONS

TOO DAMN HIGH
No equipment will be rented when the river is too damn high, no exceptions.

HIGH
River is swift and powerful, use extra caution at Compton Rapid, and stay in the main channel. Small rapids smoothed over. Keep those lifevests zipped up.

NORMAL
The ideal canoeing level. Lots of small rapids to play in.

LOW
Canoes will bump and scrape occasionally, and trips take a little longer. But the water is always beautifully clear.

VERY LOW
Shorten up your trip. Canoeist will have to step out of their canoes from time to time, but even at this level the river can still be quite enjoyable if you take your time.