Access

The Roanoke River Blueway is currently accessible at 17 local, state, federal, and private river access points. Amenities available at each Blueway access generally include parking, trash receptacle, and information kiosk, with some access points having additional amenities such as canoe/kayak ramps, restrooms, picnic shelters, and multi-use trails. See the Roanoke River Blueway Maps page for Blueway access and related maps. See also the Water Level page for streamflow at various Blueway segments.


Roanoke River Blueway
Access Points Paddle Distances*
RoanokeRiverBlueway-DistanceTable

Note: Outside of the designated Roanoke River Blueway public access points and required portages, land adjacent to the Roanoke River is private property and is NOT open for public use. Blueway users should respect private property rights at all times. Additionally, Blueway users should enter/exit the Roanoke River and tributaries only at designated public access points, parks or other areas open to the general public.


East Montgomery County Park (South Fork Roanoke River)

  • Access Location: River Left
  • Latitude 37.228298, Longitude -80.2089
  • Locality: Montgomery County
  • Access Type: Shoreline Access
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 150 cfs at USGS Glenvar 2054530
  • Access Amenities: parking, picnic shelter, restroom, playground, hiking trail, trash receptacle
  • Next Blueway Access: Wayside Park
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 4.1

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Wayside Park

  • Access Location: River Left
  • Latitude 37.2477, Longitude -80.175102
  • Locality:Roanoke County
  • Access Type: Shoreline Access
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 150 cfs at USGS Glenvar 2054530
  • Access Amenities: parking, picnic table, trash receptacle
  • Next Blueway Access: Green Hill Park
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 7.0

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Green Hill Park

  • Access Location: River Right
  • Latitude 37.2757, Longitude -80.113602
  • Locality: Roanoke County
  • Access Type: Shoreline Access
  • Minimum Recommended Stremflow: 150 cfs at USGS Glenvar 2054530
  • Access Amenities: parking, restroom, picnic shelter, trash receptacle, Roanoke River Greenway, multiuse trails, athletic fields
  • Next Blueway Access:West Riverside Drive
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 2.7

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West Riverside Drive

  • Access Location: River Right
  • Latitude 37.2864, Longitude -80.076897
  • Locality: City of Salem
  • Access Type: Canoe/Kayak Ramp
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 150 cfs at USGS Glenvar 2054530
  • Access Amenities: parking, canoe/kayak storage rack, concrete canoe/kayak ramp, information kiosk, trash receptacle, Roanoke River Greenway
  • Next Blueway Access: Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 2.1

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Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy

  • Access Location: River Right
  • Latitude 37.282902, Longitude -80.065399
  • Locality: City of Salem
  • Access Type: Canoe/Kayak Ramp
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 150 cfs at USGS Glenvar 2054530
  • Access Amenities: parking (Bowman Avenue and Central Avenue), concrete canoe/kayak ramp, canoe storage rack, information kiosk, trash receptacle, Roanoke River Greenway
  • Next Blueway Access: Eddy Avenue
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 0.9

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Eddy Avenue

  • Access Location: River Right
  • Latitude 37.281898, Longitude: -80.059303
  • Locality: City of Salem
  • Access Type: Canoe/Kayak Ramp
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 150 cfs at USGS Glenvar 2054530
  • Access Amenities: parking, restrooms (Moyers Sports Complex), concrete canoe/kayak ramp, canoe storage rack, trash receptacle, Roanoke River Greenway
  • Next Blueway Access: Salem Rotary Park
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 1.7

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Salem Rotary Park

  • Access Location: River Left
  • Latitude 37.2677, Longitude -80.036201
  • Locality: City of Salem
  • Access Type: Canoe/Kayak Ramp
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 120 cfs at USGS Roanoke 2055000
  • Access Amenities: parking, concrete canoe/kayak ramp, information kiosk, picnic table, trash receptacle, Roanoke River Greenway, bicycle rack
  • Next Blueway Access: Back Country Ski & Sport
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 0.9

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Back Country Ski & Sport (private business, 540.389.8602, www.bcski.com )

  • Access Location: River Left
  • Latitude 37.2677, Longitude -80.026299
  • Locality: Private Business (open to customer use) in City of Salem; kayak rental, retail outfitter
  • Access Type: Shoreline Access
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 120 cfs at USGS Roanoke 2055000
  • Access Amenities: parking (customer)
  • Next Blueway Access: Wasena Park
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 4.6

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Wasena Park

  • Access Location: River Right (at Roanoke River Greenway bridge)
  • Latitude 37.2673, Longitude -79.963303
  • Locality: City of Roanoke
  • Access Type: Shoreline Access
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 120 cfs at USGS Roanoke 2055000
  • Access Amenities: parking, restroom, picnic shelter, playground, trash receptacle, Next
  • Blueway Access: Roanoke River Greenway, athletic fields, bicycle rack
  • Next Blueway Access: Smith Park/Smith Park Low Water Bridge
  • Distance to Next Blueway Acess (miles): 1.4

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Smith Park / Smith Park Low Water Bridge

  • Access Locations: River Left (Smith Park); River Right (at low water bridge)
  • Latitude 37.256901, Longitude -79.953102
  • Locality: City of Roanoke
  • Access Type: Shoreline Access
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 120 cfs at USGS Roanoke 2055000
  • Access Amenities: parking restroom, picnic shelter, playground, trash receptacle, Roanoke River Greenway, bicycle rack
  • Next Blueway Access: The Launch at Reserve
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): .8

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The Launch at Reserve*

  • Access Location: River Left
  • Latitude 37.254, Longitude -79.940
  • Locality: City of Roanoke
  • Access Type: Canoe/Kayak Ramp, Stairs
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 120 cfs at USGS Roanoke 2055000
  • Access Amenities: parking, information kiosk, access to Star City Trolley
  • Next Blueway Access: 13th/Bennington Street
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 4.2

13th / Bennington Street

  • Access Location: River Right
  • Latitude 37.264, Longitude -79.914902
  • Locality: City of Roanoke
  • Access Type: Shoreline Access
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 120 cfs at USGS Roanoke 2055000
  • Access Amenities: parking, information kiosk, trash receptacle, Roanoke River Greenway
  • Next Blueway Access: Tinker Creek 3rd Street
  • Distance to Next Blueway Acess (miles): 1.1

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Tinker Creek 3rd Street

  • Access Location: River Left (put in and take out)
  • Latitude 37.271198, Longitude -79.904198
  • Locality: Town of Vinton
  • Access Type: Boat Ramp
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: Tinker Creek is floatable downstream to Niagara Dam and upstream from the Roanoke River. Tinker Creek 3rd Street is the recommended upstream take out to avoid Niagara Dam portage.
  • Access Amenities: parking, concrete boat ramp, canoe/kayak storage rack, information kiosk, trash receptacle
  • Next Blueway Access: Niagara Dam Portage (portage only, no put in or take out)
  • Distance to Niagara Dam Portage (miles): 2.1

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Niagara Dam Portage (portage only, no vehicle access)

  • Portage Location: River Left
  • Latitude 37.255798, Longitude -79.875603
  • Locality: American Electric Power public use portage in Roanoke County
  • Access Type: Canoe/Kayak Ramp (steps)
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: Portage required at all streamflow levels. 13th St/Bennington St access or Tinker Creek 3rd Street access is recommended upstream take outs to avoid Niagara Dam portage.
  • Portage: From Roanoke River use AEP access road for portage around Niagara Dam. Difficult 0.3 mile portage to access river (left) below Niagara Dam at Roanoke River Gorge. Canoe/kayak cart provided to assist with portage around dam – please return cart to upstream access after portage.
  • Next Blueway Access: Blue Ridge Parkway Roanoke River Overlook
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 0.3

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Blue Ridge Parkway Roanoke River Trail

  • Access Location: River Right
  • Latitude 37.253125, Longitude -79.871598 (Mile Post 114.9)
  • Locality: National Park Service
  • Access Type: Shoreline Access. Steep 0.5 mile natural surface trail and steps from parking area to river.
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 150 cfs at USGS Niagara 2056000
  • Access Amenities: parking, hiking trails, overlook
  • Next Blueway Access: Explore Park/Rutrough Point
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 3.0

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Explore Park/Rutrough Point

  • Access Location: River Right (put in and take out)
  • Latitude 37.225899, Longitude -79.847397
  • Locality: Roanoke County
  • Access Type: Canoe/Kayak Ramp (steps)
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: Upper reach of Smith Mountain Lake – floatable at all streamflow levels (upstream and downstream). Limited or no current.
  • Access Amenities: parking,  canoe/kayak ramp, multiuse trails. $2 per person daily fee payable via pay post in parking area
  • Next Blueway Access: DGIF Hardy Ford Public Boating Access
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 4.3

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DGIF Hardy Ford Public Boating Access

  • Access Location: River Left (put in and take out)
  • Latitude 37.2201, Longitude -79.801201
  • Locality: Bedford County/ Franklin County
  • Access Type: Boat Ramp
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: Upper reach of Smith Mountain Lake – floatable upstream to Explore Park/Rutrough Point access and downstream to SML at all streamflow levels. No current.
  • Access Amenities: parking, concrete boat ramp, boat dock
  • End: Roanoke River Blueway terminus at Smith Mountain Lake

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Back Creek (to Roanoke River)

Back Creek, a tributary of the Roanoke River, is floatable at specific water levels and river conditions. This section of Back Creek flows through remote areas with limited access. Blueway users should use caution when paddling this section and avoid during periods of high water.

Jae Valley Road (116) to Roanoke River (Explore Park/Rutrough Point Access)

  • Access Location: River Left (at bridge)
  • Latitude:  Longitude:
  • Locality: Roanoke County
  • Access Type: Shoreline Access
  • Minimum Recommended Streamflow: 100 cfs at USGS Back Creek 2056650
  • Access Amenities: informal roadside parking
  • Next Blueway Access: Explore Park/Rutrough Point
  • Distance to Next Blueway Access (miles): 4.9

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*The Launch at Reserve was added in Fall of 2017. Updates to graphs and printable maps are forthcoming.