Potomac River


The Potomac River, along the northern border of the WV eastern panhandle, includes 100 miles of class A-I water. This is one of the few consistently canoeable rivers in WV. The large volume and low gradient allows for canoeing all year round. There are some class I rapids that at high water can be very dangerous due to the size of this river. There are also a number of dams along this stretch that will need to be portaged. See the American Whitewater Links below for descriptions of individual sections.

Put-in/Take-out options include Town Creek, Paw Paw, Paw Paw Tunnel, Bonds Landing, Stickpile Hill Campsite, Devils Alley Campsite, Little Orleans, Cacapon Junction Campsite, Cohill Station Canoe Access, Leopards Mill Campsite, White Rock Campsite, C&O Canal Visitors Center in Hancock, MD, Little Pool Campsite, Sleepy Creek Bridge, Cherry Run Boat Ramp, Fort Frederick State Park, McCoys Ferry, Four Locks, Williamsport, Cumberland Valley, Big Slackwater, Taylors Landing, Horseshoe Bend, Snyders Landing, Killiansburg Cave and Shepherdstown.

The Upper Potomac River Water Trail maps, available through Maryland DNR, are a valuable resource for canoeing this river.  The MD DNR also hosts a Public Water Access web map.


Old Town, WV is the western-most put-in on the Potomac River (Google directions below).  


Fishing, Canoeing, Bicycling, Camping

Web Resources:

Oldtown Toll Bridge to Paw Paw Tunnel Campground (American Whitewater)

Pap Paw Tunnel Campground to Fifteen Mile Creek (American Whitewater)

Fifteen Mile Creek to Hancock, MD (American Whitewater)

Big Pool/Fort Frederick Campground to Williamsport MD (American Whitewater)

.5 DAM #4 to Shepherdstown (American Whitewater)

Shepherdstown to Dargans Bend Boat Ramp (American Whitewater)

Book Resources:

Books- "A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to West Virginia", "Paddling Virginia and West Virginia: A Guide to the Area's Greatest Paddling Adventures"

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