Get closer to nature and your loved ones while journeying on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, which flows through the countryside of Shenandoah County, VA. The clear, shallow waters with gentle whitewater create the perfect setting for paddlers and anglers. The breathtaking views that unfold along the riverbanks add to its allure. Part of the Shenandoah Valley landscape, this natural wonder is perfect for explorers in search of both leisure and adventure.
About the Shenandoah River
Stretching 116 miles through Shenandoah County and dotted with dams and low-water bridges, the North Fork of the Shenandoah River winds south to north before converging with the South Fork near Front Royal, Virginia, forming the Shenandoah River. The North Fork flows through a diverse landscape, including farmland, forests, and small towns, offering a range of activities and opportunities for exploration.
Shenandoah River Tubing, Fishing & More
Embark on several water activities along the North Fork, where you can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and tubing. Glide through tranquil waters, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Virginia countryside.
Anglers can experience excellent fishing along the small and shallow North Fork, particularly within the famous seven bends section, which inspired the name of the day-use Seven Bends State Park. The interplay of rugged bedrock ledges and the river's flow creates unique habitats that turn fishing into a refined pursuit in these waters. This stretch is a haven for sought-after catches like smallmouth and largemouth bass, sunfish, fallfish, and muskellunge, among other species.
Don't limit your exploration to the water—on land, Seven Bends State Park near Woodstock, VA, invites discovery with its expansive trail network. Over two miles of trails hug the river's edge, offering glimpses of the North Fork. With a total of eight miles of trails, along with picnic spots and convenient vault restrooms, the park provides ample opportunities to appreciate nature's beauty.
How to Access the Shenandoah River
There are several North Fork Shenandoah River access points open to the public. Launch your hand-carry boat from Seven Bends State Park or various locations across Shenandoah County such as New Market, Edinburg, Woodstock, and Strasburg.
Each point adds its own touch of magic to your journey, promising an experience that's as diverse as the river's flow itself.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Seven Bends State Park – Located on Lupton Road. From Woodstock, follow Reservoir Rd. (Rt 42) east past Rt 11. Turn left on Water St then turn right on Hollingsworth Rd. to Lupton Rd. Put-in at the low water bridge at the end of Lupton Rd (cement boat ramp). This is ideal for those putting in at the Hollingsworth side of Seven Bends State Park.
- 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.