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Chesapeake Bay News


Tributary Tuesday: Happy Creek (Front Royal, Va.)

Take Route 66 west from Washington, D.C. for about one hour, and you’ll find yourself far from the beltways and bypasses, at a place where the Blue Ridge Mountains meet the Shenandoah River, the principal tributary to the Potomac. This is the country for trout fishing, wine tasting, and whitewater rafting.

Flowing through Front Royal, the eight mile long Happy Creek is a lesser known tributary to the Shenandoah that made EPA’s impaired waters list in 2010. But its accessible, yet remote setting and its country charm is sure to put you in a jovial mood.

Fall foliage and a walking bridge near Happy Creek, Virginia.

Image courtesy Suzanne Stout/Flickr

Trout and bass fisherman access the creek at Gertrude Miller Park, maintained by Warren County Parks and Recreation.  The local chapter of Trout Unlimited completed a restoration project here, and fishermen often compete for a spot the morning after the creek is stocked.

White water rafting enthusiasts can begin a four mile trip just outside of Winchester. With cool mountain water below, and Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding the stream banks, Happy Creek is a lesser known rafting secret. It also makes a great paddling and kayaking destination.

Whether you’re in the area for extreme whitewater, or a romantic weekend getaway, don’t leave the watershed without hiking along the Dickey Hill Trail, just off of Skyline Drive.

More from Happy Creek:

  • Tour caves and caverns in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.
About Caitlin Finnerty - Caitlin Finnerty is the Communications Staffer at the Chesapeake Research Consortium and Chesapeake Bay Program. Caitlin grew up digging for dinosaur bones and making mud pies in Harrisburg, Pa. Her fine arts degree landed her environmental field work jobs everywhere from Oregon to Maryland. Now settled in Baltimore, she is eagerly expecting her first child while creating an urban garden oasis on her cement patio.



Margaret says:
July 31, 2012

today is my “Monday,” think I’d like to visit this place!!  Thanks for great write up on it!

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