Current Conditions

Current Conditions for South Fork Shenandoah River

Updated For:Thursday, September 28, 2023
River Level:LOW to VERY LOW
The River Level Is:Falling Slowly
River Temperature:Low 60’s

Open every day, seven days a week from April 1st thru October 31st.

SEPTEMBER HOURS: Monday thru Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 7am to 7pm.

OCTOBER HOURS: Monday thru Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday & Sunday 8am to 6pm.

RIVER LEVEL TREND:  Tropical storm Ophelia only dropped an inch and a half of rain across the Valley, not nearly enough to get us out of this drought.  Consequently, the river level never got out of our “Low” range, remains bumpy, and is approaching our “Very Low” range once again.  As a result we continue to recommend canoes and solo kayaks over rafts and tandem kayaks, both of which tend to hang up more often.  And if you weigh over 200 pounds you will get stuck more.  For those weighing over 250 pounds it will be a physical effort just to get down the river.

WEATHER: Sunny today. Cloudy tonight and Friday morning with peeks of sun in the afternoon and highs in the low 70’s. Saturday will bring a mix of clouds and sun and will be a bit warmer. Sunday should be sunny and warmer still with a high near 80.


PADDLING TIP: With this low water, we suggest a shorter float taking your time to throughly enjoy the early autumn river environment.

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

FISHING: It’s been a great fishing year, but as the water temperatures chill fishing action will diminish.

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)


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

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.

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

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

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.