Shenandoah River is located in the United States and passes through the states of West Virginia and Virginia. The river is 89.5km long and its main stream has an average width of 45m. The river has two tributaries, namely the North Fork Shenandoah and the South Fork Shenandoah. Both these forks are about 160km long and merge to form the Shenandoah River which itself is a major tributary of the Potomac River. The river drains an area of about 7610 km2 .
The river starts it course in Front Royal, Virginia where it’s formed by the joining of the North and South Forks. The South Fork of Shenandoah is 158.5km long and the North Fork is 169km long.
Shenandoah flows in a north-eastern direction through the Shenandoah Valley alongside the Blue Ridge Mountains located to its east. It flows through the borders of Virginia into West Virginia. The river drains into the Potomac river at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia ending its approximately 90km course.
The river has a total of 21 tributaries, 12 in Virginia and 9 in West Virginia.
The word “Shenandoah” has Native American origins and it means “Daughter of the Stars.”
Structural remains found near the river suggest that humans have lived in the area since as early as 9300BC. Archaeologists believe these remains to be the oldest buildings in North America.
Because of the fertile soil in the river basin, the Shenandoah Valley is major agricultural area in Virginia and West Virginia. The practice of farming along the river was started by Native Americans somewhere around the year 900 AD.
Europeans first arrived in the Shenandoah Valley in 1669 exploring the beautiful terrain, coming across abundant wildlife and Indian tribes.
By the end of the 18th century the river had become a major trading route in the Shenandoah valley. Goods were transported along the river using special wooden boats called gundalows.
Shenandoah River and its tributaries are a popular destination for water sports. Visitors and enthusiasts take part in activities such as white-water rafting, kayaking, canoeing and river tubing.
Fishing is also very common in the river and is carried out as a recreational activity and for commercial purposes as well. Several species of fish live in the river such as the Largemouth Bass fish, Muskellunge, Sunfish, Crappie, Common Carp, Channel Catfish, American eel, Northern Hogsucker, White Sucker, Redhorse and Yellow Bullhead Fish.
The river is mentioned in John Denver’s famous song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” which is also the state song of West Virginia.