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S Fork Shenandoah River: Salem/White House Boat Landing


Elevation: 764 ft.

The Shenandoah River, historically known as the “Daughter of the Stars,” provides a multitude of wildlife watching opportunities, either from its shores or from a boat on the water. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and Massanutten Mountain on the west, the river meanders between the mountains, through forest and field providing visitors the opportunity to experience it as the early settlers did as you quietly float downstream. There are numerous opportunities to gaze down along the mighty South Fork of the Shenandoah River, but to actually get out on the river and witness its greatness as you float down its mighty waters is an experience difficult to beat. So grab your canoe or pick one up along the way and head out to the river. There are several outfitters who can assist you with current river conditions, personal flotation devices, and transportation along this stretch of river that contains several sections of Class II rapids.

Birds congregate along the banks of the river especially in the summer as smaller water sources dry out. As you float downstream keep a look out for great blue and green herons, wood duck, and belted kingfisher as they fly by or stalk the shore. Look for a variety of swallows including barn, tree and northern rough-winged as they flycatch over the river. The swallows are occasionally joined by eastern kingbird and cedar waxwing chasing after the same flies.


From the Luray-Hawksbill Greenway, return to Broad Street and go north 0.2 miles to US 211. Follow US 211 west 4.8 miles to the South Fork Shenandoah River. Turn right onto Rt. 646 for 0.1 miles to the Salem Boat Landing under the bridge. Site viewable only by boat.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: (804) 739-4689
  • Access: sunrise-sunset; This site is available only for launching a boat to view wildlife from the river.

Birds Recently Seen at S Fork Shenandoah River: Salem/White House Boat Landing (as reported to eBird)

  • Belted Kingfisher
  • American Kestrel
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • American Goldfinch
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Parking
  • Site Viewable Only By Boat