The Shenandoah River is one of the few rivers that flow from south to north and the North Fork, in Shenandoah County, is ideal to float by canoe. Clear water, pleasant scenery, abundant wildlife, and mild whitewater make the North Fork a paddler’s dream. However, low flows during the summer months often require canoeists to walk their boats through shallow areas. The scenery is excellent for the entirety of the river’s course, including great views of Massanutten Mountain. The primary navigational hazards on the river are five dams and several low water bridges. Three dams are located between Edinburg and the Rt. 758 bridge east of Woodstock; and two small dams are located between Strasburg and Riverton.
PLEASE NOTE: Most of the land adjacent to the North Fork of the Shenandoah River is privately-owned. You may enter and exit the river ONLY at public access sites. Following is a list of public river access locations by town:
Memorial Park – Located just south of New Market in Timberville, VA, this access is located in a public park, which also features a public swimming pool, picnic area, playground, ball field and public restrooms. You’ll need to carry your boat 50 yards through the playground past the picnic shelter to reach the hand launch.
North Fork at New Market – The parking for this access is at the corner New Market Depot Rd and Plains Mill Rd. Follow the path under the bridge to the river. This is hand launch only; good for wading and swimming
Red Banks Road – Parking is on the corner between the river and Rte 11 off north of the bridge on Red Banks Rd between Edinburg and Mount Jackson.
Chapman Landing Road – Located just downstream of Edinburg. A popular access point for wade-fishermen and boaters. This site offers parking in a flat gravel lot along with a concrete boat ramp.
Deer Rapids – Located 3 miles south of Strasburg off Rte 644 (Funk Road). This low water bridge provides an easy put-in or take-out via a gravel boat ramp. A great launch point to float to the Strasburg Town Park just 5.6 miles downstream.
Strasburg Town Park – Concrete boat launch suitable for kayaks, canoes and shallow aluminum boats. This is a very family friendly access point for people with children. Huge gravel parking lot with port-a-johns next to the river. Also an excellent location for redbreast sunfish and smallmouth bass fishing.
Mount Jackson & Bryce
Meems Bottom Covered Bridge – Access is on the east bank under the covered bridge on the Rt. 11 side of the river. You’ll see a small gravel parking lot on the south side of the road directly across from the entrance to a corn maze which is open seasonally in the fall. Follow a small path about 50 feet down to the river bottom. Picnic tables also present.
Hollingsworth Road – Located east of the Town of Woodstock, there is a small gravel lot at the elbow in the road just before Rte 609 (Hollingsworth Road) turns to cross the North Fork.
Burnshire Bridge – Located off Woodstock Tower Road, the parking and trail to the river are on the downstream side of the bridge. A tight and steep, rocky trail along the edge of the bridge is suitable for wading access and small, hand carried boats or canoes.
Farmers Mill – Take Headley Road (Rte 600) east from Rte 11 and bear right where it turns into Ridgeley Road to follow along the edge of the river. Several gravel pull-offs, including a larger drop off and pull off right before the road turns away from the river.