Shenandoah River

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Coordinates: 39°19′21″N 77°43′40″W / 39.3225°N 77.727778°W / 39.3225; -77.727778
Shenandoah River
Crossing the Shenandoah River.jpg
Crossing the Shenandoah River in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Country United States
States Virginia, West Virginia
 - left North Fork
 - right South Fork
Towns Harper's Ferry, WV, Front Royal, VA, Luray, VA
Primary source North Fork
 - location Shenandoah Mountain
Secondary source South Fork
 - location Port Republic
Source confluence
 - location Front Royal, VA
Mouth Potomac River
 - location Harpers Ferry
 - elevation 250 ft (76 m)
 - coordinates 39°19′21″N 77°43′40″W / 39.3225°N 77.727778°W / 39.3225; -77.727778
Length 56 mi (90 km)
Basin 2,937 sq mi (7,607 km²)
Discharge for Millville, WV
 - average 2,755 cu ft/s (78 /s) [1]
Shenandoah River Watershed
Shenandoah River Watershed
Wikimedia Commons: Shenandoah River

The Shenandoah River /ˌʃɛnənˈdə/ is a tributary of the Potomac River, 55.6 miles (89.5 km) long with two forks approximately 100 miles (160 km) long each.[2] One is in the U.S. states of Virginia while the other in West Virginia.

The river and its tributaries drain the central and lower Shenandoah River valley. They also drain the Page Valley in the Appalachians on the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in northwestern Virginia and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.[3]

Geology[change | change source]

Dream Lake, inside Luray Caverns

The Shenandoah Valley sits on limestone. The fertile soil made it an attractive place for early settlement. It continues to be a major agricultural area of Virginia and West Virginia.

Some karst topography is evident, and the limestone has a great number of caves. Several have been developed as commercial tourist attractions. These include Luray Caverns, Shenandoah Caverns, and the Skyline Caverns.

On the riverbank a few miles above Harpers Ferry, West Virginia is said to be a cave with an opening just large enough for a rider on horseback to squeeze through. It widened in the interior to a spacious room where hundreds of Col. John Mosby's raiding troops are said to have hidden from pursuing Union cavalry.[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. "USGS 01636500 Shenandoah at Millville, WV" (PDF). National Water Information System. U.S. Geological Survey. 1895–2013. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  2. U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed August 15, 2011
  3. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Shenandoah River
  4. Virgil Carrington Jones, Mosby's Rangers (Chapel Hill & University of North Carolina Press, 1944), p. 240 (The Union discovered Mosby's cave only by accident late in the war when a wandering horse fell through a trap door hidden in a burnt-out house on the bluff above the river. A curious Union soldier noticed stairs leading downward, which proved to be the second entrance to the cave. There were stalls, hay, and room enough for 200 to 300 horses).

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Shenandoah River at Wikimedia Commons