The Rappahannock River, the longest free flowing river in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, extends from its origin at Chester Gap in the Shenandoah National Park of western Virginia to Stingray Point in the Chesapeake Bay, a total of 184 miles.
Development of a water trail along a portion of the Rappahannock is being coordinated by the Friends of the Rappahannock in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The water trail will cover historical paddling trips from Kelly's Ford to the Fredericksburg City Docks – the middle section of the river.
While there are many locations along the Rappahannock that are accessible for paddling and boating, the Rappahannock River Water Trail is still just developing. Boaters and paddlers are responsible for their own safety. Remember that boating, canoeing, kayaking and other activities on rivers can be dangerous.
The section of the Rappahannock River from just below the Route 95 bridge to just below the cut stone abutment remains of the former 1854 Crib Dam and former concrete Embry Dam is open for Public Use. The former flat water area now consists of class I to III white water rapids which should be carefully scouted. Several areas of dangerous strainers (trees, brush and undercut rocks) can be found on the river's right side. River conditions can be expected to change due to the recent removal of the dams and related sediment. The Rappahannock River is now the longest free-flowing river on the United States east coast.