Wilderness Canoe Co.

Alpine to Snowden is a step up in adventure, and is one of the best paddling adventures in Virginia.

Paddlers can scout the Balcony Falls rapid from a giant rock on the river right.

Rocky Road

Pick a campsite.

Start by choosing one of our riverfront campsites to serve as your basecamp. Arrive at WCC, set up camp and relax for the night.

The following day, usually Saturday, walk or ride to the office for your pre-trip briefing. Load all gear, pets and passengers on the bus for the shuttle to Alpine. We run Alpine shuttles everyday at 8:30 am, 10 am, 12 noon and 2 pm. You can choose kayaks or canoes for this trip.

Once at Alpine, you will have all day to relax in the wilderness. Paddle, float, fish, picnic, explore... and just have fun with the class I and II rapids on this stretch of river. The river will eventually bring you back to your campsite.

Day two.

The next morning, sit on top kayaks will be taken to the rivers edge and launched at your leisure for the downstream adventure to Snowden. This is the last stretch of river on the Upper James River Water Trail and contains numerous class II rapids and at least two class III rapids known locally as Balcony Falls.

Our bus will pick you up at the Snowden public boat landing at a pre-determined time to bring you back to your campsite for you to pack up and head back to the real world.

Restrictions apply to this trip because of the technical difficulty of the rapids on the Balcony Falls section of river and due to limited access for our vans and trailers at the Snowden take out.

Best stretch of the upper James River!

​Alpine to Snowden

That's what Balcony Falls looks like in August! Rocks everywhere!

  • Minimum age is 14 years old.
  • Minimum number of paddlers is 2.
  • Maximum number of paddlers is 8.
  • Saturday pick up at Snowden is limited to 2 paddlers. (For those who start this trip on Thursday)
  • This trip is limited to 2 paddlers on Holiday Weekends.
  • Pick up times at Snowden are 4 pm or 5 pm.
  • 4 ft. max on Buchanan River Gauge
  • Reservations are required and can be made by phone or email.