The Nelson Area Paddlers
The Nelson Downriver
Canoe and Kayak Race

Food, Awards, Fun
Table of Contents
  • Events
  • Instructions
  • Directions
  • The Rules
  • Other Notes
  • Maps

  • Preregistration: Nelson Co. Visitor's Center, 263-5239 or email
    More Info. Phil Welker 277-8023
    Fee: $10 per person ($20 with T-Shirt)
    ($5.00 for second race)

    The Nelson Downriver Race is intended for anyone interested in canoe or kayak racing - from novices to national champions. Our goal is to promote recreation, conservation and sportsmanship through paddling rivers and lakes in and around Nelson County, Virginia.
    The Nelson Area Paddlers

    Upon request we will provide a guided trip down the river for beginners or others who do not wish to race.
    Main Events
    Special Events
    Saturday, May 4, 2002
    Sunday, May 5
    Downriver Race
    A beautiful run through Class I to Class II+ rapids on the Tye River's cool, clear mountain water.

    Registration: 9:30 - 11:00 AM
    Start: Rt. 662 along side the Tye River, 11:30 AM
    Finish: Confluence of Tye River and Rucker's Run
    Distance: 7 miles

    1. Safety boaters, those who wish to race early or those who wish to race twice will race at 8:00 AM. The 8AM run is intended for experienced racers as there will be no safety boat support on this run.

    2. In the event of low water the race will be moved downriver. The put-in will be just upstream from the confluence of the Tye River and Rucker's Run and the take-out will be the DGIF boat landing at Wingina.

    Exhibition Race or Fun Paddle
    On Sunday we will sponsor an informal race down the famous Balcony Falls section of the James, a pristine and untamed gorge. Only experienced paddlers should run this section. This first-time exhibition race is on an experimental basis. No awards will be given. The Balcony Falls run contains many Class II and II+ rapids. The most difficult rapid is Balcony Falls itself, a solid Class III rapid. A 1 1/2 mile section of flatwater at the end of the race will test paddlers' mettle.

    Less-experienced paddlers may wish to consider paddling the section of the James just upstream from Balcony Falls or the Maury River from Buena Vista to Glasgow. The Maury has been listed in some sporting magazines as one of the 10 best bass fishing streams in the country.

    Registration: 10:30 AM at the DGIF (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries) boat landing in Glasgow, Va.
    Start: James River at Glasgow, Va., 11:30 AM
    Finish: Appalachian Trail Bridge in Snowden, Va.
    Distance: 6 miles

    Camping for the Night

    James River State Park has a variety of camping arrangements including primitive camping alongside the river.

    Free camping is also available near the takeout. For details please call Phil Welker at 804-277-8023 or email Conny Roussos at

    Camping for the Night

    Numerous camp sites are available in this area. Otter Creek campground just off the Blue Ridge parkway and the campground at Glen Maury park in Buena Vista are excellent nearby campgrounds.

    The more adventurous may consider camping along the James river in the gorge.

    Saturday Sunday
    Proceed to put-in on Rt. 662 alongside Tye River, two miles from intersection with Rt. 739 and Tye River bridge (see map and directions below).

    Register for race and leave boat(s).

    Proceed to take-out. Leave vehicle and take shuttle back to put-in.

    Notify race official when you are ready to begin race.

    Proceed to the DGIF (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries) boat landing in Glasgow, Va.

    Register for race.

    Upon signal from race official paddle very hard.

    Saturday Sunday
  • Take Rt. 29 South from Charlottesville or North from Lynchburg to Rt. 739 in Nelson County just North of the Tye River Bridge.

  • Turn East onto Rt. 739 and follow 739 for about 1 mile into the town of Tye River Depot.
  • Just before the Bridge over the Tye River turn left onto Rt. 662.

  • Rt. 662 follows the Tye River. Follow 662 for about 2 miles to a point where the road leaves the river.

  • This is the put-in for the downriver race.
  • Take Rt. 29 South from Charlottesville or North from Lynchburg to Rt. 130 in Madison Heights.

  • Turn west onto Rt. 130 and follow 130 to the DGIF (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries) boat landing at Snowden. This is the take-out for the race.

  • The put-in is located about 6 miles further west off Rt. 130 in Glasgow, Va..

    1. All participants must wear Coast Guard approved life vests.
    2. All participants are required to give aid to any boater in danger.
    3. Paddlers are strongly encouraged to wear whitewater helmets for their protection.
    4. Paddlers are encouraged to run the race course sometime before the actual race as there are a few 2+ & 3- rapids. You may also wish to consult Roger Corbett or Ed Grove's book for information on the lower Tye.
    5. Paddlers may make appeals to race officials but, in all cases, the decision of race officials is final and binding.
    (I mean, come on, it IS just a race :-)

    1. Consider Camping and Picnicing at the new James River State Park (1-800-933-PARK ).
    2. Race time is at 11:00 AM. However, those who wish to race early or those who wish to race twice may race at 8:00 AM.
    3. After the race on Saturday there will be a get-together/cook-out for paddlers and their families at the takeout. Hamburgers, hotdogs and drinks will be supplied. You are encouraged to bring other food to consume or share as desired.
    4. Connect to for more information about accomodations and sites to see in Nelson County.


    Nelson County Area

    Saturday - Downriver Race - Getting there is half the fun!

    Sunday - Madison Heights to Glagow

    James River State Park

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