by Caitlin Finnerty
July 31, 2012
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.
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:
- Take advantage of tent and cabin camping, 24 miles of scenic trails, and various interpretative programs at Shenandoah River State Park.
- Get lost in wooden landscapes and cascading waterfalls at Shenandoah National Park.