Paddle With Us on Potomac River Rambles
What are the River Rambles?
The Potomac River Rambles are a series of one-day or multi-day canoeing and kayaking expeditions that can feature environmental programming, riverside camping, restoration projects, festive meals, meetings with elected officials, and much more. Novice and experienced paddlers alike enjoy a unique on-the-water experience that builds a strong environmental ethic, while having a lot of fun in the process. The Rambles aim to elevate awareness of the Potomac River’s importance to the region and to encourage local residents to play an active role in its restoration. Check out our FAQ section for more info.
2012 Potomac River Ramble
Ramblers spent a day on the Potomac paddling between the shores of Maryland and West Virginia. The one day Ramble started at the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center and ended at Snyder’s Landing with an out-of-boat gourmet picnic lunch. Along the way, Ramblers enjoyed educational programming focusing on watershed issues. Special thanks to River and Trail Outfitters for co-sponsoring the event and Friends of NCTC for launch permission and interpretative programming.
2011 Potomac River Ramble Cancelled
The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin staff regret, that due to dangerous river conditions, we had to cancel the Potomac River Ramble for the Shepherdstown trip scheduled for 2011.
2010 The Potomac’s Scenic Paw Paw Bends July 8-11
This year’s Ramble traveled from Town Creek through the Paw Paw Bends, ending at Little Orleans. Ramblers gathered at Town Creek on the evening of July 8 for an informal meeting and dinner, and headed out on the water the following day. The course wound through gorges and rolling hills, with flat water and beautiful scenery. Along the way, Ramblers became involved in the river and its surroundings through hands-on demonstrations and participation. The group learned about Potomac water quality and challenges from biologists, historians, and other experts; collected aquatic bugs and learned how the presence and numbers of types of bugs can tell a lot about water quality; learned about the history of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, now a national historical park, that complements and protects the Potomac River; and enjoyed presentations from experts on river and cultural issues, and a chance to meet and learn from fellow Ramblers.
2009 Potomac River Ramble June 24th - 28th
Monocacy Scenic River from the city of Frederick, Md. through the Monocacy Aqueduct and down the Potomac, ending at the McKee - Beshers Wildlife Management Area.
In 2009, we had some great programs including: studying aquatic invaders with the Md. Department of Natural Resources and the Hood College Biology Department; examining the inter-sex smallmouth bass problem in the Potomac with the U.S. Geological Survey; hearing interpretive programs at the Monocacy National Battlefield Park; and conducting amphibian and wetland surveys with ICPRB and Montgomery County DEP biologists.
2008 Tidal Potomac River Ramble: Piscataway Creek to Mason-Neck
The 2008 Ramble explored some of the tidal creeks South of Washington DC. Ramblers examined the invasive snakehead, learned about different types of aquatic vegetation, explored tidal freshwater marshes, and toured historic sites including Fort Washington and the National Colonial Farm.
2007 Summer Potomac Ramble: Shepherdstown, W.V. to Tarara Winery in Leesburg, Va.
Participants of this year’s Ramble collected and examined fish and insects living in the mainstem Potomac, paddled some whitewater around Harper’s Ferry, enjoyed historic period music, took part in the Potomac River Family Festival, and met up with participants of the Shenandoah Sojourn.
2006 Fall Colors Ramble: Paw Paw Bends: Old Town, Md. to Little Orleans Md.
This year’s Ramble began on the North Branch Potomac and took place in one of the most scenic stretches of the Potomac River. The Fall colors were starting to appear as we learned about efforts to grow native trees, explored the Paw Paw Tunnel, reveled in a historic interpretive program about Ostenaco, the Cherokee Indian chief, and learned how to identify riparian trees and stream insects.
Do I need to be an experienced canoeist or kayaker to go?
No. We welcome everyone no matter the experience level. Our guides and volunteer safety boaters are on hand to help you learn basic paddling skills.
Do I need a boat to go?
You may bring your own or rent one, but you will need a boat. If you rent your boat from our guide company and let them know it's for the Ramble, they'll deliver boat and gear to the put-in.
What do I need to bring?
You should bring snacks, sunscreen and a water bottle. You may also want to bring bug spray. A complete list will be sent with your packet closer to the trip. No need to bring meals or water. We will provide those. For overnight trips, you'll need camping gear (tent and sleeping bag), mess kit (bowl or plate, spoon, fork, knife, cup),
What does my fee include?
Your fee includes meals, camping fees (if overnight trips are involved), professional guide service, shuttle service, and programs.
What are the meals like?
We try to make your experience as fun and enjoyable as possible. We provide catered meals or cookout style meals prepared on camp grills. We try our best to accommodate dietary needs, but we may not be able to meet everyone's needs. We always provide vegetarian options.
I'm not an experienced camper. What can I expect?
When we camp, camp sites are primitive. We will have access to port-a-pots and water, but there are no showers.
How are the days structured?
At the start of the trip, we meet and are shuttled to the put-in. We start out time on the water with a safety briefing. Once on the river, we enjoy a leisurely paddle to our program location, usually at lunch. Programs vary and could include netting macroinvertebrates, tree identification, geology, history, or other topics appropriate to the area. Along the way, we bird watch, site see, fish, or swim to pass the time. Guides and staff are always available to answer questions. If camping, once on land at our camping spot, we offer evening and campfire programs, hikes along the C&O Canal Trail, and other opportunities.
What are the age restrictions?
We ask that your child be at least 8 years old. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Can I bring a group (scout troop, school class, youth group)?
We welcome groups. Please contact us directly to give us a little more information and get your group registered.
Where are the put-ins and take-outs?
Each Ramble is different. We will send you a packet with directions to each put-in and take-out for the paddle, along with maps, and contact information for each.
What if there is an emergency?
If an emergency happens on the water, our guides and staff will be on hand to manage it. We collect emergency information before the trip to make sure we are able to help if there is an issue. If you have an emergency at home, family or friends may contact you at one of the emergency contact numbers provided. Cell phone service may be limited so we will provide land line numbers wherever possible.