Maury River Rockbridge County's Very Own
The Maury River's boundaries are entirely within Rockbridge County. Beginning at the top of Goshen Pass and flowing into the James. The Maury offers a wide variety of paddling opportunities. While there is challenging whitewater, such as Devil's Kitchen and other rapids too difficult for novices to tackle. The river offers plenty of Class I and II water that the average canoeist can handle.
If you are interested in paddling the Maury, the river can be separated into seven different trips. We are only covering two sections on this page, but you can purchase the Outing Club Book for detailed descriptions of the remaining five. Though the river is beautiful, it is full of hazards. Specifically two dams: a 10-foot dam in Lexington and a 20-foot dame in Buena Vista. These dams are not runnable! Always portage around a dam if your trip continues past it.
Swinging Foot Bridge to Rockbridge Baths
Rapids: Class I-IV
Distance: 5 miles
Take US 11 North 1 mile to Route 39 West to Goshen Pass. Stay on Route 39 West for 15 miles. Turn right onto gravel road to the swinging footbridge. The bridge is not easily seen from Route 39. There are several take-out locations along this section of the river. The three most commonly used take-outs are the Rockbridge Baths General Store and Post Office (5.8 miles downstream and is easily seen from the river by a footbridge which crosses over the river); the Springs (about 3.3 miles downstream) which is easily seen by the pipe coming out of the hill (river right); and the Ledges take-out, which is easily seen by at the large gravel shoulder (river left).
Minimum 630 cfs USGS gauge or 18" on boater's gauge.
From the put-in there are a series of riffles. The first major rapids are easily located with the Chamber's Ridge outcropping, river left, and a large boulder on the right bank. This is Undercut Rock (III)(, the main line is to the center, being aware of the undercut boulder to the right and the ensuing ledges river left.
Following a long pool, the river begins to bend to the right. This is the entrance to Roadside Rapid (II) a surfing wave (at 2-3 feet boater's gauge). Saunter through this wave train by going to the left of the boulder's gap at the top.
Soon after Roadside Rapid you'll enter Bikini Row(II+). Bikini Row is a long rock garden with several mall surfing holes and 'splatting' rocks. It ends at a large pool, known as Blue Hole, a popular swimming hole. Then next rapid, Devil's Kitchen (III-IV) is Goshen's most notorious bruiser.
Glen Maury Park to Locher Landing/Balcony Falls/James River Rapids
Rapids: Class I-II+
Distance: 12 miles
Take US 60 toward Buena Vista for 5.9 miles. At the traffic light just before the Food Lion and before crossing the Maury River to Buena Vista, turn right onto Forge Road, Route 745. Drive for 1.3 miles and look for the Glen Maury Park entrance on your left. For the take-out continue on Paxton House Road over the Maury River into Buena Vista. Turn right onto Route 501 South. Take 501 South until the fork in the road with Route 130. Turn right at the fork onto Route 130 West, Faulkner Highway, and drive .5 miles toward Glasgow and Natural Bridge then turn left to the public access road and the Locher Landing.
This section is passable most of the year except during prolonged drought.
This is a long trip for careful novices. If you plan on fishing, be selective about your stopping points. Otherwise you will find yourself still paddling after dark. Glen Maury Park provides camping facilities and handicapped-accesible concrete landing for canoes and small boats. You will encounter Class I and II+ rapids on this trip and the remains of several dams. Take-out just before the confluence of the Maury and James Rivers, river left. Balcony Falls is just beyond the take-out, a Class II-III rapid.