Paw Paw Bends Camping Trip

The Paw Paw camping trip includes an optional National Park Service tour of the C & O Canal.

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, July 14–15, 2018

Title: Paw Paw Bends Camping Trip
River: Potomac River
Trip Description: Join your Upper Potomac Riverkeeper on RiverPalooza 2018’s 3rd annual iconic float through the entrenched meandering bends on the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail near Paw Paw, WV. The Paw Paw Bends are the classic signature of the Upper Potomac River. The rural, almost wild-like scenery and sky-high rocky cliffs literally feel like a walk back in time. This two-day trip leaves from Paw Paw, WV, camping at Bond’s Landing at the edge of the Green Ridge State Forest and ends at the Fifteen Mile Creek Campground on the C&O Canal.

Our trip begins with a special tour of the Paw Paw Tunnel on the C&O Canal with a guest speaker from the National Park Service, followed by a beautiful paddle through Paw Paw Bends. Dinner will be provided by Mission BBQ on Saturday night at Bond’s Landing where we set up camp and eat around an open campfire. A light breakfast will be available on Sunday along with a “make your own” packed lunch buffet. Water and drinks will be available throughout the weekend but feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks.

We will be meeting at the Fifteen Mile Creek Campground parking lot at 9 AM and shuttled to the Paw Paw Tunnel Campground along the C&O Canal. The Shuttle will leave approximately 9:30 to 10 AM. The Tour of the Paw Paw Tunnel led by the NPS will be at 11:00 AM. We’ll be on the water by 12:30 PM. Your camping gear will be stowed in our gear truck and hauled up to the campsite at Bond’s Landing. All BYOB participants will meet at the Paw Paw Campground between 9 and 10 AM. BYOB paddlers will be shuttled back to their cars on Sunday.

Don't forget to wave at the train!If you would rather not wake up at the crack of dawn to meet at 9 AM on Saturday, join your Upper Potomac Riverkeeper for camping at Paw Paw Tunnel Campground (on a first come, first serve basis) on Friday night. After the end of the paddle on Sunday, paddlers can also camp at Fifteen Mile Creek Campground.

  • Lead Riverkeeper: Brent Walls 443-480-8970 or brent@potomacriverkeeper.org
  • Arrival Location: Fifteen Mile Creek Campground parking lot; BYOB meet at Paw Paw Campground
  • Arrival Time: 9:00 AM on the 14th (option to camp at the National Park Service Paw Paw Campground on the 13th)
    Shuttle to Paw Paw leaves 9:30–10 AM
    Take-out location on 15th: Fifteen Mile Creek Campground; end time 6 PM
  • Distance/duration: Day 1 – 12 miles/6.5 hrs; Day 2 – 9 miles/4.5 hrs
  • Paddle Level: Beginner
  • Outfitter: River and Trail Outfitters
  • Cost: $110 per person, nonrefundable
    This covers use of canoe, kayak, or bring your own boat; personal flotation device; paddle insurance; catered dinner Saturday night; breakfast and packable lunch items on Sunday; RiverPalooza commemorative t-shirt; and a one-year PRKN membership to support your Upper Potomac Riverkeeper

Participant Limit: 30 people

Note:  Rentals are only available to adults or children aged 12 and up who are accompanied by an adult.


Additional Optional Activities:

  • Tour of Paw Paw Tunnel at 11 AM on Saturday the 14th
  • Overnight camping at Bond’s Landing
  • Dinner, breakfast, and “make your own” packed lunch provided
  • Optional camping at Paw Paw Tunnel before trip and Fifteen Mile Creek after trip

See gorgeous formations during the Paw Paw camping trip.What to Bring:

  • Packed lunch for the first day
  • Healthful snacks and drinking water (no glass bottles)
  • Camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, flash light, etc.)
  • Sunscreen, hat, rain gear, towel, bathing suit, old shoes or water shoes
  • Wear proper footwear. NO FLIP-FLOPS. Old gym shoes, sandals with a strap, and water shoes work great
  • Dry Bag or Waterproof Container (if you bring a phone or a non-waterproof camera, you need a way to protect it)
  • If you plan to fish, bring valid fishing license for the waters you would be fishing
  • Trip waiver (bring signed copy with you) – Adult waiver | Minor waiver
  • River and Trails waiver (bring signed copy with you)
  • Read Paddle Rules
  • Download Water Reporter app to record your paddle experience. #RiverPalooza2018


NOTE: Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) is not responsible for optional camping arrangements for Friday July 14 or Sunday July 16, nor for the safety and enjoyment of participants who wish to attend. Trip times are subject to change or cancellation due to inclement weather, high river levels, tidal fluctuations, wind, and other factors that could jeopardize safety and enjoyment of participants. Unfortunately, there can be no refunds. Potomac Riverkeeper Network is not responsible for any personal property that may be lost, damaged, or stolen during the trip. Potomac Riverkeeper Network is not responsible for limited camping, outfitter service, lengthy paddle distances, late start times, and uncontrollable weather that could potentially prohibit/limit our ability to provide an enjoyable and safe paddling experience.