Canoe from Algonkian Regional Park to Riverbend Park

Added by Brian Balik

A moderate-level canoeing day adventure on the Potomac River.

Starting at Algonkian Regional Park and ending at Riverbend Park, this 8.5 mile canoe trip is a perfect way to get away from the traffic that is Northern Virginia.  Paddling hard, people have completed it in 4 hours.  It can easily be turned into an all day trip lasting 8 or more hours, if paddling is minimal and lunch breaks on islands are taken.  This trip is best done as a "shuttle" with multiple people.  Park one vehicle at Riverbend Park (8700 Potomac Hills Street, Great Falls, VA, 22066) and another vehicle at Algonkian Regional Park's boat ramp.  The first part of this trip is a slow paced float from Algonkian Park to Trump Golf Course/Seneca Breaks.  Once the canoes (or kayaks) reach the Seneca Breaks, adventurers are treated to swifter water (not reaching over Class II Rapids) for almost the entire float.  There are many routes to take, but one of the most fun is by staying near the Virginia shoreline the whole time. Doing this will take you into the old canal cut that was the Washington Canal.  This stretch of water is faced-paced, but easy for even beginner canoe users.  To enter into the old canal cut, paddle on the Virginia side of the river.  You will see see Trump Golf on the right of the river.  After passing the obvious golf course (a large clearing on the shoreline with literally no trees), paddle for 450 more yards.  The canal cut will be the closest water to Virginia's shoreline. 

After paddling through the canal, paddlers will tackle a few more Class I rapids for a few more miles before ending at Riverbend Park's Boat Ramp.  

Both Algonkian Regional Park and Riverbend Park require boaters to pay a launch fee.  Please pay accordingly to your trip.

Riverbend Park's Visitor Center offers patrons an opportunity to purchase snacks in their shop.  Water, candy, and snacks are usually available.

WARNING:  Some states require boaters to wear or possess wearable personal floatation devices (PFD's).  Please check local and state laws regarding canoeing, kayaking, and river usage.

WARNING:  It is illegal to swim or enter the water in some parts of the Potomac River.   Check local, state, and federal regulations regarding river safety and usage before entering the Potomac River.

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Easy Parking
Family Friendly


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Overall rating: 

Not a bad paddle!

Brough the kayak down here to check out this stretch of the Potomac. Although its a little grungy in some areas, the river is really peaceful and a lot of fun to explore by kayak/canoe. There are plenty of local rental companies as well if you need a boat!

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