Franklin County Blueways
Information Guide


Current Water Levels

Pigg River Maps
Map 1
Map 2

Blackwater Maps
Bluebend, Dugwell, Grassy Hill, Headwaters, Lower, Middle

 Smith River
Smith River Map
Philpott Reservoir Map

Canoe/Kayak Safety

Learn the basics from
Experienced friend
Blueways Terminology
Basic paddle strokes to keep canoe/kayak straight in calm and rough waters.
Jay Stroke
Cross Bow Draw
Simple Pry
Life Jacket for each passenger (Checking weight restrictions)
Map of blueway with designated access points identified
First Aid Kit
Drinking Water
Pack to allow for portages
Water Levels
Know recommended water levels for safe access (Local Guidelines)
Check the current water levels for blueway. (Local Levels)
Always let a family member, close friend, or neighbor know your blueways' plans.
Name of the Blueway
Get-in location
Get-out location
Estimated time of trip
Are for safety
Should follow portage recommendations

Pigg River

Franklin County's 1st Blueway
8 - Mile Float
Put-In at Waid Park
Beautiful Wooded Landscapes & Farmlands
Wildlife & Fish
18th Century Transportation lane for Franklin Co. Iron Industry
Home of the Annual Pigg River Ramble

Blackwater River

Newest Blueway in Franklin County
8 - Mile Float from Brubaker Park (Intersection of Coles Creek Rd & Hickman Rd.) to the intersection of Jamestown Road and Blue Bend Road.
34 - Mile Float from Brubaker Park to Smith Mountain Lake.
Scenic Farmlands, Wooded Areas, & Mountains
Wildlife & Fish
Drift, Fish, and/or Swim
Home to the Annual Blackwater Blackout (Preceding the Pigg River Ramble)
Blackwater Maps:

Bluebend, Dugwell, Grassy Hill, Headwaters, Lower, Middle
Blackwater Water Levels


Smith River


Put-In locations in Franklin, Henry, & Patrick County.
From Philpott Dam to Bassett, cold water release.
Call (276) 629-2432 for water release schedule.
Leading to and leaving from Philpott Reservoir & Lake
(Undeveloped surroundings of wildlife, nature, trees, water, and fish).
White Falls (2-6.5 feet in depth), accessible from river only.
Base of Philpott Reservoir at the Dam, the Smith River has strong & challenging currents during water releasing times.

Roanoke River Gorge

Niagara Dam to Rutrough Road

Acknowledgement of Risk

River running is not risk free. Unlike a theme park setting, your adventure will take place in a natural environment over which Franklin County Parks & Recreation Department has no control. The same elements that contribute to the unique character of river running, such as constantly changing water levels, can cause loss or damage to equipment, personal injury, or in extreme cases, permanent trauma or death. We simply want you to know in advance what to expect, and to be informed of some of the possible risks. As a participant, you will be totally responsible for your own movement and safety while on the river. Due to the inherent nature of the sport, you will be primarily responsible for your own rescues.  Certain sections of the river are inaccessible by public safety extraction equipment for some distance. Although accidents are rare, injury may be sustained by (but not limited to) walking or climbing along the river bank, diving or jumping into the river, getting into or out of the watercraft, falling out of the watercraft, the watercraft overturning, the watercraft becoming entangled in or pinned against rocks, branches, logs, down trees, or low water bridges. Of course, drowning is always a possibility when around water.  Hypothermia is a risk when floating in cool or cold weather.  Remember, it is possible to get hypothermia when the air and water temperatures are both above freezing. Heat-sunburn, wind, rain, lightning, or being in the open for extended periods may be uncomfortable or cause injury. Also, certain plants, insects, or animals may cause discomfort or injury. Before embarking on river adventure, make certain that the people in your party are in good physical condition and are fully capable of participating in this river trip.  Check, and doublecheck, and doublecheck again the condition of your equipment including your canoe/kayak, rescue ropes, and other river safety equipment.  Blueway users assume full responsibility for the safety of themselves while on the water.






Paul Chapman, Director
2150 Sontag Road
Rocky Mount, VA  24151
E-mail: Paul Chapman

Recreation Programs Manager
E-mail: Marcia Cramblitt

Youth Athletics Manager
E-mail: Nikki Custer

Park Systems Manager
E-mail: Bobby Pruitt

Administrative Assistant
E-mail: Sarah Holley

Parks Superintendent
E-mail: Dan Chitwood

Transportation Program Coord.
E-mail: Amanda Carter

Games Official's Coordinator
Terry Miller

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