Beautiful Waters: Paddling and Water Sports Along the Beerwerks Trail

Kayaking South River
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It’s deep summer, and if you’ve been itching to get back on the water, now’s when to break out your paddling gear. Whether it’s a glide on a calm lake with the kids or a heart-pounding dash through whitewater, we have an adventure for you. Make sure to visit a nearby watering hole along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail to get some beer to round out your adventure.

Recreation areas and facilities might be temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 situation. Check each brewery’s website or Facebook page for updates as their offerings/services change frequently. Many Beerwerks breweries are open for business in accordance with the current guidelines. However, if you’d rather take your beer home with you, most offer to-go sales on cans, bottles, growler fills, merchandise and gift cards. In several cases, you can call your order in ahead of time and pick it up at the curb.

Guided Tours

Guided Trips with Massanutten Adventures

40 minutes to Stable Craft Brewing.

What better way to see the Shenandoah Valley than from the perspective of its namesake river?

Massanutten Adventures has been leading guided canoe, kayak, and tube excursions for 19 years along the Shenandoah River as it runs parallel to Shenandoah National Park. The canoe/kayak season runs from April to October and the tubing season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Shenandoah River Adventures

10 minutes from Elkton Brewing Co.

Shenandoah River Adventures provides all levels of experience with transportation, guidance, and canoe, kayak, or tube rentals for a day (or more) of adventure on the Shenandoah. Plan to nab a campsite near a wide, slow stretch of river, fish, or set up an A.T. Aquablaze leg for your Appalachian Trail hike. Trips are by appointment, and it’s good to book in advance.

Kayaking, White Water Rafting or River Tubing with Outdoor Adventure Experiences Inc.

20 minutes to Restless Moons Brewing Company.

If a guided tour is more your speed, book an adventure with Outdoor Adventure Experiences Inc. This company offers full and half-day kayaking excursions from April to November and tubing trips from May to September. You might also gather your crew for a white water rafting ride. Hang on tight for the thrill of a lifetime! Rafting trips launch as long as the temperature is above 50 degrees.

Paddle and Camp with Wilderness Canoe Company

25 minutes to Heliotrope Brewery.

Wilderness Canoe Company (WCC) is running in a limited capacity during the Covid-19 epidemic. They aren’t renting canoes, tubes, rafts, or kayaks, or providing transportation, but check their website to reserve paddle-in campsites along the James River. Choose from calm stretches of river where you can fish, try your hand at running class I, II, and III rapids. 


Shenandoah River South Fork

15 minutes to Cave Hill Farms Brewery.

The beautiful and popular South Fork Shenandoah River offers almost 100 miles of paddling as it flows northeast toward Front Royal. Launch your canoe at Port Republic and enjoy the scenery of Page Valley, created by Massanutten Mountain rising on the west and the Blue Ridge on the east. Rapids top out at class II and there are 20 public access points. Canoe traffic can be heavy in the summer.

Waynesboro Water Trail

5 minutes to Basic City Beer Co.

Want to paddle through town? The Waynesboro Water Trail extends along four picturesque miles of the South River from the Ridgeview Park Boat Ramp to the Basic Park Boat Ramp. Easy-access boat ramps and mild class I and class II rapids are great for beginners. If you’re looking for equipment, Rockfish Gap Outfitters sells kayaks, canoes, and inflatable paddle boards. They also rent gear to paddlers without gear of their own. 

Middle River from Westview to Verona

20 minutes to Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company.

Relax while you paddle a gentle, 25-mile section of the Middle River in Augusta County running from Westview to Verona. The river meanders through farmland, offering some lovely pastoral view. This float has easily accessed put in and take out spots and the rapids top out at class II.

Goshen Pass

45 minutes to Skipping Rock Beer Co.

Goshen Pass, where the Maury River cuts through Little North Mountain, is one of the most popular sites for catching whitewater in Virginia. This beautiful six-mile trip includes powerful class II, class III, and even named class IV rapids like Corner Rapid and Devil’s Kitchen. To stretch out your day, tie up your kayak and explore the boulderscape scattered in the riverbed.

Upper James River Water Trail

20 minutes to Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery.

The Upper James River Water Trail stretches along 64 miles of the James River as it winds through Rockbridge and Botetourt Counties. This area is perfect for canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and fishing, and has been designated a Virginia Scenic River. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries operates 12 public access points with free parking. Rapids vary and can reach class III at normal water levels. For gear, check out Lexington’s Walkabout Outfitter or Journey Outdoors or Natural Bridge Station’s Wilderness Canoe Company.


Lake Robertson

35 minutes to Devils Backbone Outpost Tap Room & Kitchen.

Rockbridge County’s 31-acre Lake Robertson was built in 1971 and named after Senator A. Willis Robertson, who championed conserving our natural resources. Nestled in the lush green mountains, the scenic recreation area includes boat rentals and a boat launch as well as a pool, playground, hiking trails, campground, and picnic shelter.  No gasoline motors allowed.

Todd Lake Recreation Area

35 minutes to Queen City Brewing Company.

Perfect for your kids’ first trip in a boat, Todd Lake is a small, quiet, man-made lake northwest of Staunton. Non-motorized boats can share the 7.5-acre lake with swimmers and fishermen. With a sandy beach, picnic facilities, hiking trails, bathhouse, camping, and a playground, the recreation area is a great fit for a family weekend adventure. Day access fee applies.

Lake Shenandoah

20 minutes to Brothers Craft Brewing.

Located just outside the city of Harrisonburg, Lake Shenandoah is a good option for paddling, though water levels are low this year due to ongoing repairs. The shallow 36-acre lake features a parking lot and a paved boat ramp. No motorized engines, swimming or wading allowed.