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RiverPalooza: Paw Paw Bends Camping Trip

August 17 @ 9:00 AM August 18 @ 6:00 PM


Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and join us on an overnight camping trip through the iconic Paw Paw bends, located in the small town of PawPaw, West Virginia. These five horseshoe-shaped bends have been a significant part of the Potomac River since the 1830s when the C&O Canal’s engineers faced the daunting task of constructing the Canal around or through this difficult area of the river. After much consideration, they decided to build a 3,118 foot long tunnel around the PawPaw Bends, which is now known as the PawPaw Tunnel.

Photo Credit: National Parks Service
Photo Credit: National Parks Service

The town of PawPaw, the PawPaw Bends, and the PawPaw Tunnel all derive their names from the pawpaw trees that flourished in the area.


On our kayak trip, we will explore the picturesque Paw Paw Bends, where you will feel as though you have stepped back in time as you take in the rural, almost wild-like scenery and sky-high rocky cliffs. We will start our two day trip by first meeting at the 15 Mile Creek Campground to load your camping gear into the gear truck…Tent, sleeping bag, change of clothes, etc. Then we will bus to the put in at the boat ramp in Paw Paw, WV. If you are bringing your own boat (BYOB), we will take your boat with the shuttle bus.

We will camp at Bond’s Landing at the edge of the Green Ridge State Forest. A light cheese and cracker tray will be available while we set up camp. Then we will enjoy an authentic evening camp dinner. On Sunday, a light breakfast and “make your own” packed lunch buffet will be available, and water and drinks will be provided throughout the weekend. Please bring your own water bottle and coffee/wine mug.


If you prefer not to wake up early for the long drive, we invite you to camp at the 15 Mile Creek Campground on Friday night on a first-come, first-serve basis. Paddlers can also camp at the 15 Mile Creek Campground on Sunday after the end of the paddle. Don’t miss this opportunity to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature on our unforgettable overnight camping kayak trip through the PawPaw Bends.

Trip Details

  • Lead Riverkeeper: Brent Walls 443-480-8970 or brent@potomacriverkeeper.org
  • Begin Arrival & Check in: 9:00am on the 17th
  • Shuttle Departs to Put-In: 10am
  • Estimated Take-out time: ~6:00PM on the 18th
  • Paddle Level: Beginner
  • Paddle Distance/duration: Day 1 – 12 miles/6.5 hrs; Day 2 – 9 miles/4.5 hrs
  • Costs: $150 per person non-refundable
    This covers
    • Use of canoe, kayak, or bring your own boat
    • Personal floatation device
    • Paddle insurance
    • Dinner Saturday night
    • Breakfast and packable lunch items on Sunday
    • RiverPalooza commemorative t-shirt
    • One-year Potomac Riverkeeper Network membership to support the Upper Potomac Riverkeeper.


waiver must be signed online (in advance) for you to be registered for this trip.

1. ACA waiver

Also to do in advance:


  • Packed lunch for day 1. Healthy snacks and drinking water. (no glass bottles) Water bottle and coffee mug/cup
  • Camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, flashlight, etc)
  • Sunscreen, hat, towel, bathing suit, old shoes or water shoes
  • Snacks and drinking water (no glass bottles)
  • Change of clothes
  • 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

Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) is not responsible for optional camping arrangements for Aug 17 or Aug 18 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.

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