Photo by Roy Sewall.
Within one single hour’s drive of Washington, DC lies one of the most undeveloped bucolic and beautiful stretches of river anywhere. A hidden jewel of undisturbed woodlands, beaches (at most water levels), islands, and prolific wildlife. We begin this float either from the town of Remington, taking out at Mott’s Landing near Fredericksburg, VA, or we float from Kelly’s Ford down to Mott’s Landing, depending on the river levels.
Through a beautiful confluence of industry and environmental grassroots activism there are over 32 miles of this river in public use and conservation easement, which means long contiguous stretches of wild river where we can freely paddle, camp and play. This is an amazing float for families and friends, punctuated by riffles, turns, drops, chutes and a few class II (III at higher levels) rapids. We describe the paddling as “technical” in places due to the need to turn and maneuver, but at most levels the whitewater is very modest. If the levels are up, we can take rafts!
Trip Length: 24-28.5 mile
Trip Duration: 3 days and 2 nights camping riverside
Trip Cost: $650 per person, or reserve a private raft for up to six guests for $2,500 ($425 per person if you fill the raft)
When is this Trip Available: Normally April – June. During wet years this can be extended later into the summer and maybe even into the fall.
Minimum Age: 6 years old in raft, 12 years paddling a canoe or kayak
Number of Guests Per Trip: 6-12
Activities: Paddling, swimming, birding & wildlife viewing, camp-side games and sports, relic hunting, ecology and geology education, camp-side fishing and most of all…. relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.
Who This Trip is for:
If you’re paddling a kayak or canoe, several river paddling experiences are recommended. If you’re rafting, no experience is required.
This is a great for families, multi-generational families and groups of friends. The trip has just enough interesting and complex whitewater to keep everyone interested, but not too much for a fit senior with experience in modest whitewater. Unsure of your skills? Then just pick the guided rafting option.
Meet your guides in the morning. Get boat assignments, shakedown gear, and then to the launch site. Lower our boats into the water and then we push off. This may be the last human structure you see for the next three days. The first day’s paddle is not too long, so there’s plenty of time to learn or practice your strokes, to enjoy the scenery and to get settled in at camp. We will camp by the river, on a sandy beach if water levels permit. Your guides hand you a cold beverage and set up camp while you swim, fish or just enjoy the group. During hors d’oeuvres, dinner is prepared over an open fire. Enjoy it under the stars. Bedtime comes when you’re done staring at the campfire.
Wake up to the smell of coffee brewed over a campfire. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, explore the woods and river and take in unspoiled nature while your guides break down camp and reload the boats. We do our longest section of paddling on day two. Watch out for mink, river otter, deer, black bear and big majestic birds while you paddle riffles and rapids, mazes, islands, drops, and narrow chutes. Lunch will be served by the river. After a full day of paddling, we near the confluence of two rivers and the longest section of whitewater on the trip. Here we pick a campsite, enjoy another gourmet meal under the stars, then fall asleep with the sweet sound of babbling water as a backdrop.
The last morning is always bittersweet, so we take a little extra time this morning so you can laze in your tent, move slowly, squeeze your loved ones, hang with friends, linger by the campfire, and enjoy our hot riverside breakfast. Take in views of the wide and prehistoric-looking confluence of the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers while guides pack gear for the last time. When you’re ready, we launch into the confluence rapids. Once they are behind you, the rest of the trip is very chill save, for the occasional chute or drop that requires your attention. After lunch, you arrive at your destination, Mott’s Landing. We deal with the gear and clean up and get you back to wherever you need to be.