Rapidan River

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The Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers. The Rappahannock is the highlighted river to the north, while the Rapidan is its southerly tributary.

The Rapidan River, flowing 88 miles (142 km)[1] through north-central Virginia in the United States, is the largest tributary of the Rappahannock River. The two rivers converge just west of the city of Fredericksburg. The Rapidan River begins west of Doubletop Mountain in Shenandoah National Park where the Mill Prong meets the Laurel Prong at Rapidan Camp, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Big Meadows. The river defines the border of Orange County with Culpeper and Madison Counties.

Sections of the lower Rapidan River are preserved by a conservation easement.[2]

The Rapidan River was the scene of severe fighting in the American Civil War, and historic sites such as Ely's Ford, Chancellorsville, Brandy Station, Kelly's Ford, and the Battle of the Wilderness are nearby.

The name is a combination of the word "rapids" with the name of Queen Anne of England. Originally, it was known as the Rapid Ann River.

The Rapidan River ranks #38 in Trout Unlimited's Guide to America's 100 Best Trout Streams.[3] In 2000, the upper Rapidan River was nominated for EPA designation as a Tier III Exceptional Waterway. In 2001, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality rejected the application, citing uncertainty about the impact of the designation.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed April 1, 2011
  2. ^ "City of Fredericksburg Finalizes 4,232-acre Conservation Easement Agreement with The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Outdoors Foundation and Department of Game and Inland Fisheries". The Nature Conservancy. 2007-03-14.
  3. ^ Ross, John (2005). Trout Unlimited's Guide to America's 100 Best Trout Streams. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot. pp. 135–138. ISBN 1-59228-585-6. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
  4. ^ Jones, Tom. "Rapidan River Tier III". Rapidan Camps. Retrieved 2008-06-19.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°22′05″N 77°37′07″W / 38.36815°N 77.6185°W / 38.36815; -77.6185