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River recreation

The Cacapon River is one of West Virginia’s highest quality rivers. Protected by woodlands and peaceful fields, it’s waters are not polluted by industry, development or mining. So jump in and have fun with the many opportunities for water recreation!

Public Access

There are multiple public access points along the 112 miles of river. The headwaters of the Cacapon originate in Hardy County – as the Lost River – which flows north, then dives underground. It reappears near Wardensville as the Cacapon River. The river flows through Hampshire County, bisecting the Town of Capon Bridge and continues north into Morgan County emptying into the Potomac River near Great Cacapon.

West Virginia Department of Natural Resources maintains a number of public access sites — where boaters can park and enter the river. 

The Cacapon Water Trail Guide highlights these access sites and many key features along the river.

Water Levels

The Cacapon River and its tributaries (North River, Dillons Run, Edwards Run, and Connor Hollow) react quickly to rainfall events. And during extended dry periods, the water level drops. Be sure to check the USGS water level before you embark on a long float trip. Levels below 2.0 feet might mean you will scrap some rocks. Levels above 4.0 feet might be dangerous for inexperienced paddlers.

Floating by Canoe, Kayak or Tube

The Cacapon River is a wonderful “family” river. It offers beautiful scenery, lots of flat water and some exciting rapids. Be sure to practice safe boating. Wear a personal floatation device, have a “paddle partner”, protect yourself from the sun and have a guide on any new section you want to explore.


Smallmouth bass, crappie, sunfish, suckers and many other fish populate the Cacapon River. Any fisher over 14 years old will need a WVDNR fishing license. To obtain a license on-line, go to

Scenery and Wildlife

The Cacapon River is home to many amazing geologic features — talus formations, rock bends, cliffs and the awesome Caudy’s Castle. The watershed is graced with diverse wildlife and fauna. Deer, beaver, otters, kingfishers and bald eagles are often sighted on quiet floats. Around each river bend is the possibility of a new discovery!

Relax and Slow Down

However you chose to enjoy the river, be sure to relax and take it all in. Have a seat and relax. Life along the river is an everchanging play — new actors take the stage – then disappear, the lights brighten – then dim, sounds echo down through the trees. The Cacapon River wants you to join in and enjoy the peaceful setting. And needs you to preserve and protect its unique river and watershed.