White Water River Tubing
Strap on your helmet and life vest, and get ready for an exciting river experience you won't find anywhere else!
Our one and only white water river tubing trip takes you deep into the stunning James River Gorge, to the only class III rapid set on the Upper James River: Balcony Falls. This section is a popular destination for locals and travelers alike. Balcony Falls is formed by the falling topography as the river cuts its way through the Appalachian Mountains, Chesapeake bound.
What to Expect:
You'll be provided all the necessary safety gear (life vest, helmet) which MUST be worn when traversing the falls themselves. The official Balcony Falls drop is the first major rapid you will come to, and you'll know it when you see it, but you'll be given landmarks to help you know when you're close. You do not have to go down balcony falls! There is a giant rock island allowing less thrill-seeking guests to simply go around it. Next, you will go through a section of river known as Little Balcony and the Mine Field. There are several submerged (and exposed) rocks through this stretch that can lead you right into Class 2 and even another Class 3 rapid, depending on how you navigate. We will help you decide which path is best for you before launch. After you've conquered Little Balcony and the Mine Field, it's smooth sailing! The river stretches out into deep, slow solitude and you'll enjoy taking off that helmet at kicking back for the remainder of the trip. Take out is at Snowden Boat Launch, and you'll see the Happy Foot Bridge, where the AT crosses the James, signaling you to prepare for take-out.
Is It Safe?
Our insurance company seems to think so... Just kidding! It is very safe! But like any swift water environment, there is inherent risk involved, and to make sure you have the best day possible, we do have a few rules that guests are required to follow:
Participants must be at least 12 years of age.
Participants must be able to swim. We're going to check when we get you in the water.
Helmets AND life vests must be worn from the time you put in, to the time you come to the flat-water section.
Because this trip is self-guided, participants must sign a waiver stating that they understand any removal of safety gear is their choice and against MJRC policy.
Absolutely no alcoholic beverages will be permitted.
Strapping shoes must be worn (no flip-flops)
Each group must bring one cellular phone (a single complimentary dry bag will be provided)
We will not run Balcony Falls trips if the river gauge indicates that water levels are below ___ or above ___. We do refund trips canceled by MJRC due to weather and river conditions.
The Bottom Line:
Balcony Falls is a lot of fun, and we wouldn't put you in a position we felt was unsafe. It's a gorgeous stretch of river, and the views alone are worth it. But it is moving water, and safety precautions are important. Though you can easily go around the Balcony Falls rapid, we do not recommend this trip for people who are anxious about moving water, or who have serious health conditions, as this location is remote, and rescue operations are challenging.
If you follow our safety rules and do your part to ensure your own safety and the safety of your group, you are sure to have a spectacular day to remember!