Whitewater Kayaking

Whitewater Kayaking

Thrilling Potomac River Kayaking

This half-day kayaking trip follows the same course as our popular Whitewater Rafting trip and is the perfect option for guests in good physical condition, looking for a more challenging adventure.

Riding in our inflatable “duckie” kayaks, whitewater kayakers get to explore Class I and Class II rapids (and sometimes, Class III) on this 7-mile stretch of the beautiful Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers near Harpers Ferry.

Kayak the river in a Duckie

Don’t be fooled by the funny name! Duckies are inflatable kayaks that seat one person each. The trip begins with a short flat water section on the Shenandoah River where you can practice paddling and steering before reaching the white water. No previous experience is required but guests should be somewhat physically fit, have an understanding of basic paddling skills and be capable of paddling and maneuvering their kayak 7 miles down river through Class I-III rapids. Our guides will be available for questions, basic paddling skills tips, instruction, and a river safety orientation. This is NOT a kayaking class. These trips go out with our Whitewater Rafting trips and guests will be expected to keep up with the trip! Our guides are there to assist, if needed, from a kayak or raft.

Scenery & History

On your kayaking trip, you’ll be in one of the most scenic river areas in North America. On top of that, our guests sometimes catch sight of blue herons, ospreys, and once in a while, even a bald eagle! As you paddle downstream you’ll get to brave the drop at Bull Falls, and navigate the twists and turns of Lunch Rock Follies and the moody current of Mad Dog.

As you continue your whitewater kayaking trip, you’ll encounter Bull’s Tail, the Shenandoah’s mile-long Staircase, Mad Dog, White Horse, Hesitation Ledge, Roller Coaster, and more!

You’ll paddle right by the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and experience the section of the river that has the view Thomas Jefferson claimed was “worth a trip across the Atlantic”. You’ll then continue your trip on the Potomac starting at the world-renowned gap between Bolivar West Virginia, Maryland Heights Maryland, and Loudoun Heights, Virginia.

At the end of your kayak journey, you will get a ride up the hill in one of our 5 Ton Military trucks or Vans. If you prefer to enjoy a walk after your trip – no problem at all, and you will enjoy more of the gorgeous views as you finish your outdoor activities.

Combine a kayaking trip with a visit to Old Town Harpers Ferry WV and you can enjoy a great day of river adventure and civil war history combined! It all makes for an awesome day trip from Washington DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylania.

Included in your Trip

  • Duckie Kayak Rental, Kayak Paddle, and Helmet
  • PFD (Personal Flotation Device, sometimes called a life jacket)
  • Shuttle to and from the river

River Kayaking Trip Rates

May 1 – Sep 4, 2023

Mon – Fri
Adult $58 Youth $53
Adult $78 Youth $73
Adult $73 Youth $68
Holiday Weekends
Adult $78 Youth $73

Sep 8 – Nov 20, 2023

Thursday through Monday
Adult $58 Youth $53
(Closed on Tuesday & Wednesday)

For Next Day Reservations, Call us to Book

$7/person user fee and 6% sales tax will be added at checkout

Trip Times

May 1 – Sep 4, 2023

10am, 2:30pm
9:00am, 10:30am, 12:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:00pm

Sep 8 – Nov 20, 2023

Mon, Thurs & Fri
Sat & Sun
10am, 2:30pm
(Closed on Tuesday & Wednesday)

Have your own Kayak and just need a place to park & a shuttle to & from the river? Our river shuttles are there for you.

Important Information to Know

Please check the river conditions before you travel.

  • Reservations are required
  • Duckies seat one person per craft.
  • It takes approximately 2 and 1/2 hours (depending on water levels).
  • YOU WILL GET WET on your duckie kayaking trip, so dress appropriately.
  • Guests are welcome to bring water, but no glass containers are allowed. You can refill water bottles on site, or purchase water at our check-in.
  • We reserve the right to change our trip route if the water conditions are not ideal for this activity.
  • If the river levels are too low, we will recommend a different activity or an alternate route. If the water levels are too high, we postpone trips for your safety.
  • As one of the most experienced river outfitters in the Shenandoah Valley area, Harpers Ferry Adventure Center wants to ensure you have a safe river trip, so children must be at least 12 years old and be accompanied by an adult.
  • River conditions affect the age requirement.
  • Any person participating in an activity with Harpers Ferry Adventure Center must complete a Liability Waiver.
Make an online reservation today or call us to book or if you have any questions at (540) 668-9007

Liability Waivers

At the time of booking, all guests must fill out a liability waiver for each participant in a booking. For fastest service, we recommend that you read and sign the liability waiver online during the purchase process. At that time a link to the online liability waiver is made available for sending via email to other participants in your booking so that they can also read and sign their waivers in advance of the trip.
Please note that anyone under the age of 18 MUST have a waiver filled out by a LEGAL parent or guardian.

Want to enjoy Potomac & Shenandoah River adventures a couple times or more this season? Season Passes are a great way to enjoy the river adventures all summer long! Gift Certificates are also available – a great way to give family and friends a fun and memorable experience.

For more outdoor activities and Potomac and Shenandoah river trip ideas, check out our whitewater rafting and whitewater tubing trips, camping & cabins, zipline tours, and our aerial ropes course. Or, if you prefer a mellow and relaxing time with your friends or family, check our flat water river tubing offering!

For Next Day Reservations, Call us to Book

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