RiverPalooza: Good-Bye Summer Blowout

RiverPalooza Harpers Ferry 1

August 29, 2021​ | 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
(Rain Date: No Rain Date — Please note: event will only be canceled if river levels are too high and is not based on forecasted rain)


RiverPalooza Harpers Ferry rafts 1Mark Frondorf, Shenandoah Riverkeeper; Dean Naujoks, Potomac Riverkeeper; and Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, are thrilled to announce this year’s RiverPalooza Goodbye Summer Celebration! Join them, and Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN), and our good friends at Outdoor Afro for our exciting whitewater day-long celebration. Should you have friends or family who only speak Spanish, we will have Spanish translators on the trip with us, so please invite them to come out and enjoy the river.

Whether you are an absolute, never-done-it-before whitewater novice or a hardcore, adrenaline-junkie veteran paddler, this is the trip for you! Join your Shenandoah Riverkeeper and Potomac Riverkeeper to run the confluence stretch of the Shenandoah where she eventually merges with the Potomac River. You’ll put in at Millville with our talented guides from River Riders, hit all the best whitewater in the Harpers Ferry area, and take out at Potoma Wayside (just upstream of the Rt. 340 bridge)—which just so happens to have a gorgeous hidden waterfall where Piney Run spills into the Potomac. Perfect for an invigorating quick rinse before the steep climb up the hill back to the buses to shuttle you back to your car.

This beautifully scenic paddle will take us down through Bull Falls, the Staircase, past Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, and through the Mad Dog and White Horse Rapids—literally the best whitewater in the Harpers Ferry area. It’s going to be so much fun! Stretches of this paddle are along the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.

RiverPalooza Harpers Ferry rafts 2But wait! How can stone-cold rookie paddlers hang with the grizzled veteran paddlers wanting to strut their stuff in shredders and play boats? Easy—we’re all running the same water, but with 2 different boat configurations designed for all skill levels:

  1. Seat in a guided raft: For beginners and less experienced paddlers wanting to experience the thrill, but with a modicum of protection added in, we have contracted with River Riders to provide six-person (including the guide) rafts with expert guides to get you safely down the river. You are not just sitting there watching. You are an integral part of the team with a paddle in hand, working with your guide and fellow raft-mates to navigate your way down the river. Perfect for families, first-timers, and older folks!
  2. Duckie: Whether you are the grizzled veteran or the grizzled veteran wannabe, sign up for a River Rider duckie rental! Duckies are inflatable kayaks, incredibly forgiving, and a blast to paddle. Experience whitewater paddling for yourself in a safe and enjoyable environment with lots of paddler friends and raft guides to provide encouragement and assistance, if needed.

Please keep in mind PRKN is hosting Harpers Ferry Tubing and Overnight Camp on Saturday, August 28th at nearby Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (HFAC) This is the perfect opportunity to join us for some easy tubing on the Potomac on Saturday, camp Saturday then join us at Harpers Ferry Brewing Company for beer, food and live music Saturday evening! Wake up and hit the “Doah” the very next day! So make it a weekend! Two Days! Two Rivers! Two Float trips! You better join in the fun because summer is almost over! Please be sure to register for each event separately if you plan to attend both trips on Saturday and Sunday! Hope to see you on the river, one of them anyway!

Camping or rental cabins at Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (HFAC) are limited so reserve them well in advance. Visit HFAC for reservations—Potomac Riverkeeper Network is not responsible for securing campsite reservations.

Lead Riverkeepers:
Mark Frondorf – (571) 969-0746 or mark@shenandoahriverkeeper.org
Dean Naujoks – (336) 809-6041 or dean@potomacriverkeeper.org
Brent Walls – (443) 480-8970 or brent@potomacriverkeeper.org

Arrival Location:
River Riders, Inc.
408 Alstadts Hill Rd
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
(800) 326-7238

Arrival Time: 12:00 PM for paddle trip, shuttle departure no later than 1:00 PM;

Anticipated end time: 4:30 PM

Paddle Distance: 7 miles

Skill Level: Beginner to advanced

Boat Options and Costs (including registration for party):

  • Duckie rental: $65
  • Raft: $75 per raft seat

Included with each registration:

  • Guide
  • Rental canoe or kayak
  • RiverPalooza 2021 commemorative t-shirt

Participant Limit: 125 people

Note:  Rentals are only available to adults or children 8 years and older who are accompanied by an adult.

What to Bring:

  • Packed lunch, snacks and drinking water (no glass bottles)
  • Wear proper footwear. NO FLIP-FLOPS. Old gym shoes, sandals with a strap, and water shoes work great
  • Sunscreen, hat and rain gear
  • Change of clothes
  • A face mask
  • 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 a valid fishing license for the waters you would be fishing.
  • Read the Paddle Rules

The following Liability Waivers are required for each participant in your party. Please fill out and submit in advance.


Tag us in your paddle trips on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok — #RiverPalooza2021

Optional Activities for before or after RiverPalooza Wrap-Up:

  • Come early and check out the amazing ropes course or take a flight on their Superman zipline at River Riders.
  • Harpers Ferry Brewing, 37412 Adventure Center Lane, Hillsboro, VA 20132
  • Camping or rental cabins at Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (HFAC).
  • Contact HFAC for reservations — Potomac Riverkeeper Network is not responsible for securing campsite reservations.
  • Also consider checking out Historic Harpers Ferry, hike the Appalachian Trail or bike along the C&O Canal! Plenty of amazing things to do in Harpers Ferry!