Virginia Summer  – Activities on the Water 

Fishing, Kayaking, and Canoeing Near Love Ridge 

Waterways abound in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, making our Blue Ridge Parkway cabin rentals a perfect destination for fishing in scenic lakes or streams, paddling your kayak on tranquil waters, or canoeing down one of several nearby rivers. Grab your fishing pole or paddle and get out in nature within minutes of your mountain cabin, where Virginia summer adventures await. 

Sherando and Monocan Lakes – Prime Summertime Fishing and Paddling 

All along the Shenandoah Valley, you’ll find abundant fishing options in our crystal-clear mountain streams, pristine rivers, and alpine lakes. Constructed initially as flood mitigation and becoming one of the most popular outdoor recreation spots near Love Ridge, Sherando Lake is an excellent place to cast a line for several stocked fish, including largemouth bass, rainbow trout, bluegill, and the ultimate catch, trophy-sized channel catfish. The lower lake (20 acres) and the upper lake (7 acres and usually less crowded if you want more solitude) are peaceful and quiet, as no motorized boats are allowed, making for a serene mountain setting. If you’re angling for catfish, use stink bait, while spinners, worms, and lures are ideal for trout and bass. Sherando’s waters are also excellent for fishing from a canoe or kayak, which you can paddle around the more sizable lower lake and target deeper sections and secluded inlets. 

Another fantastic location for summertime fishing and fun on the water is Lake Monocan, just a 20-minute drive away and part of Wintergreen Resort’s sprawling outdoor facilities. Perhaps best known as a world-class destination for skiing and snowboarding during the winter months, Wintergreen ski resort transitions into warm weather and Virginia summer mode by June, including at this beautiful 20-acre lake on their property. Open to visitors every day but Tuesday and Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the water is teeming with largemouth bass and trout alongside bluegill and crappie. You’ll have the best luck fishing bass from the shore and trout in deeper water, accessible by renting one of their canoes and kayaks, convenient for combining paddling and fishing in one fun-filled afternoon. 

For those in your group who are not into fishing, there are plenty of other summer activities at Sherando and Monocan, including swimming along their sandy shores, playing horseshoes, taking a bike ride or hiking on the trails surrounding both lake areas and bird-watching, including majestic heron and osprey sightings. 

Virginia summer fishing at the lake in a forest setting

Back Creek and the Tye River – Virginia Trout and Fly-Fishing at Its Best 

Top-notch creek and river fishing is also available just a few miles from your Love Ridge cabin, including Back Creek, a favorite among trout-fishing enthusiasts. Fed by dam releases of colder water in the springtime and one of several “delayed harvest streams” (meaning it’s catch-and-release only from October through May) managed by the Department of Wildlife Resources, rainbow trout thrive along its rocky bottom, and the bites are never-ending, ideal for beginners learning the ropes of fly-fishing. Do some casting with dry flies or nymphs along the north fork of Back Creek, which feeds into Sherando Lake, or the south fork that runs parallel to Love Rd (the same road we’re on), making access quick and easy. 

The Tye River, a 35-mile-long waterway that winds through our backyard in the Blue Ridge Mountains before feeding into the James River, is another fly-fishing hotspot for Virginia summer anglers. Add some excitement to your fishing outing by parking at the Crabtree Falls parking lot and experience the rush of the cascading water (the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River, at 1,200 feet, and one of our favorite winter hiking trails in Virginia) before tossing some flies and nymphs in the section of Tye River adjacent to the parking lot. Check out the historic wooden bridge in this area, dating back to the late 1970s and with a classic aged look, which allows access to either side of the river. 

Brown and rainbow trout are the stars of the Tye, but wild brook trout are also common catches along specific stretches. The species makeup varies slightly by river, lake, and stream geography, but you can expect the breakdown of trout in our area to be over 50% rainbow trout and the other 50% split equally between brown and brook trout. All the trout varieties are flavorful – brown trout is not as “fishy,” brook trout has a delicate salmon-like taste, and rainbows have a subtle sweetness. 

Virginia summer Sherando Lake trails sign
Sherando Lake - Virginia summer at the lake with children playing in the water

Kayaking and Canoeing the South and James Rivers – Easy Paddling and Stunning Scenery

In addition to the calm and relaxed lake paddling at Sherando and Monocan Lakes, launch your kayak or canoe on one of our nearby rivers for some extra adventure. Take a scenic 30-minute drive north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Ridgeview Park in downtown Waynesboro, one of our charming neighboring towns in the Shenandoah Valley, where you can hop on the South River for an easy, beginner-friendly water excursion – living up to their inviting motto, “where paddling comes naturally.” Allow 2-3 hours to complete the four-mile stretch of river that flows from Ridgeview Park to Basic Park, known as the Waynesboro Water Trail. Difficulty varies slightly depending on current water flow (check the USGS Waynesboro water gauge for up-to-date conditions), but the rapid sections are all class I or II.

Few Virginia waterways are more iconic for kayaking and canoeing than the James River, which flows 348 miles west-to-east across our entire state, stretching from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay. Several nearby “river towns” are less than an hour’s drive away from Love Ridge and line the James along the 74-mile Upper James River Water Trail, including Glasgow, where the Maury and James Rivers converge and create exciting rapid sections on either side of the downtown section.

Jump on the James just upstream from Glasgow, where you can head out on your kayak or canoe or rent one from the experienced outfitters at the Wilderness Canoe Company. Celebrating their 30th anniversary of river-running in 2024, the crew at Wilderness Canoe knows the James top-to-bottom. They will give you a safety lesson, provide a personal flotation device, and show you how to paddle before embarking on their short (4 miles and 2-3 hrs) or long (9 miles and 3-4 hrs.) river trip outings. Like the South River in Waynesboro, this stretch of the James is mellow and great for beginners, so don’t worry if it’s your first time paddling on a river. You’ll also pass through portions of the James River surrounded by wild habitat and secluded from any development, a unique opportunity to see Virginia’s untouched mountain terrain and riverscapes.

Book now, guests that love camping in Virginia or for those that prefer the comfort of a pet friendly cabin your Virginia summer fishing and paddling adventures awaits!

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