Photo by Roy Sewall.
Float along the prettiest, cliff-laden pass bordering the Green Ridge State Forest, as the river bounces back and forth between goat-inhabited, sheer-rock bluffs in the Potomac Highlands. The forest, once an apple orchard, has progressed into a beautiful deciduous and pine canopy since becoming a State Forest. Hard to believe this scenic stretch lies only 2 hours from Washington, DC.
This float explores nearly thirteen miles and is an exciting option for families and friends, punctuated by riffles, drops, chutes, and a few class II rapids. We describe the paddling as “entertaining”. If the levels are up and the river is flowing swiftly, we can take rafts! When the river is low, the clear water reminds you of an aquarium as fish dart back and forth and river grasses sway lazily in the current. If you’re interested in history, you’ll love the Paw Paw Tunnel. This tunnel took 14 years to construct, is over 3,000 feet long, used over six million bricks, and nearly bankrupted the entire Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company. After its completion in 1850, it enjoyed a seventy year life before being “retired”. It is currently maintained for historic tours and curious hikers/bikers, and worth a visit.
We end our trip at Bonds Landing which, sitting in the rain shadow of Sideling Hill Mountain, is the driest place in the state of Maryland. Cap off your float with a stop at the overlook on the drive out from Bond’s to take in the view of the Big Bend of the Paw Paws on your way home.
Trip Length: 12.5 miles
Trip Duration: 2 days and 1 night camping riverside
Trip Difficulty: Class I/II rapids with drops and chutes
Trip Cost: $450 per person, or reserve a private raft for up to six guests for $1,750 ($275 per person if you bring 6) all inclusive. Trip must have 4 people signed up to be viable.
When Is This Trip Available: April – November
Minimum Age: 6 years old in raft, 12 years paddling a canoe or kayak
Number of Guests per Trip: 4-12
Trip Meeting Time: 9AM first day
Trip Ending Time: Approximately 5PM second day
Trip Meeting Location: Bonds Landing or TBD
Activities: Enjoy hiking, exploring, swimming, birding & wildlife viewing, camp side games and sports, ecology and geology education, camp-side fishing and, of course, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.
Food Options: Day 1: Lunch and Dinner. Day 2: Breakfast and Lunch. Please contact us early to talk about dietary restrictions.
Who This Trip is for:
If you’re rafting, no experience is required. If you’re paddling, while experience doesn’t hurt, this is one of the least demanding floats we run and qualifies as a beginner float for anyone with modest physical abilities and for fit seniors.
This is a great trip for nuclear and multi-generational families, with just enough whitewater to keep everyone entertained.
Meet your guides in the morning. Get boat assignments, shakedown gear and then to the launch. The first day’s paddle isn’t 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 or explore the 3000 foot long Paw Paw Tunnel.
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. We will camp by the river, on a sandy beach, if water levels permit. Your guides will hand you a beverage and set up camp while you swim, fish, or just enjoy the group. During hors d’oeuvres, dinner is prepared for you over an open fire. Enjoy it under the stars. Bedtime comes when you’re done staring at the campfire.
The second morning we take a little extra time so you can laze in your tent, move slowly, linger by the campfire, and enjoy a hot breakfast. Take in views and cliffs while guides pack up the gear. When you’re ready, we launch for the second day off paddling to complete the two day trip. After lunch you arrive at your destination, Bond’s Landing. We deal with the gear, clean up, and get you back to wherever you need to be.