Adventure Mendota has closed for the 2017 season!   We’ll reopen May 2018!   All guests of Adventure Mendota must provide a signed waiver.  If a guest is under age 18, a parent or guardian must sign the waiver.     Waivers may be signed upon arrival, or for your convenience, you may sign your waiver ahead of time in one of the following ways:

  • Adults wishing to using our online waiver option, please click HERE:
  • Adults who are parents or guardians of Adventure Mendota’s minor (under age 18) guests wishing to use our online waiver option, please click HERE.
  • For those wishing to print a copy of the waiver, complete and sign it and bring it with you, please click  HERE.

Adventure Mendota is open 7 days per week.  However, we close when we are experiencing poor weather or river conditions.   We work by reservation, so call us and we’ll get you on the river!!  

Here’s a typical kayak outing.  Our nephew, Neth Gardner, made this drone footage for us.   I think he did a good job!

Hours of Operation

We ask that our kayak customers arrive 30 minutes prior to the launch time we provide you at the time of your reservation.   This gives ample time to get checked in, pay for the trip, review and sign the Liability Waiver, listen to any instructions, and the brief walk to the river bank.  Because we operate “down river” for parts of our business, we stay on a strict schedule for launch and pickup, and if you’re late, you may miss your launch.

Mon-Sat 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday   10:00 am – 6:00 pm

On the section of the river we are using, river conditions are normally categorized as Class I or Class II, and our trips are not guided.   You will be “off the grid and into the river” –out of cell phone and walkie talkie range on your river journey.

Adventure Mendota greatly appreciates your business, and we work hard to earn that business.   We offer a fleet of Jackson Riviera sit-on-top kayaks — purchased specifically for our type of river–and a small number of Old Town Twister sit-on-top kayaks–both known for their stability and ease of tracking–good to know if you’re an inexperienced kayaker.  You’re our guest.  You deserve the best.


Our guests tell us they appreciate our two cean, indoor restrooms, and based on our guests suggestions, we have added outdoor changing rooms.


Before You Come…

Reservations:   Always call ahead before you make your trip–even if it’s the day of–since we schedule our trips and staff by the number of guests.  Our number is 276-645-1020.    In addition, while it may be a nice day elsewhere, poor river conditions following a storm can linger a day or two.  It’s terrible to show up to a muddy, rushing river that is not acceptable for kayaking.

What to wear or bring:    Guests must wear acceptable footwear such as tennis shoes or river sandals/chacos with a back strap.  No bare feet or flip flops allowed.     It’s also a good idea to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, dry bags or boxes, towels and picnic items if you want to picnic on our river bank.  The closest source for gas is 12 miles so plan accordingly. .

Alcohol:  We are committed to clean, family fun and operate under a zero tolerance policy for alcohol.    No open alcohol is allowed in our parking lot, office, any vehicle or put-in area.    We reserve the right to check containers, and those violating our policies will be asked to leave.  Likewise, if you are using our picnic tables, we request that you not bring alcohol.

Weather Policy:  We follow weather advisories for Scott and Washington Counties.   If the weather appears questionable, please call us or check the local weather advisories before making your drive to Adventure Mendota.   We will attempt to call you at the number you have provided to advise you that we are closing.  However, it may be difficult to reach you–especially if we are calling your cell phone–so you should always be mindful of the weather before you leave home.

Get In Touch With Nature!

Can you recall the last movie you saw?   Visit Adventure Mendota and make memories you’ll keep. When you “Float the Fork,” you’ll be reminded of God’s many blessings as you journey down the river.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a summary of the services  that are offered?

  •  Our downriver kayak trip is five-river miles.  This is an unguided trip; you should be aware that cell phone service will not be available for most–if not all–of your trip.  We will allow a limited amount of customer owned kayaks on this trip — depending on the amount of trailer space.  Be sure and let us know that you wish to bring your own kayak at the time of your reservation and be prepared to give us the approximate size of your watercraft.
  • Our upriver kayak trip is for customer-owned kayaks with kayakers who have an appropriate skill level to navigate the rock dam that is about four miles into their journey.  This trip is good for those who wish to progress at their own pace or fish along the way.  A picture of the rock dam:

Rock Dam Summer Picture

If you wish to stay the night, we also offer overnight accommodations at RiverCliff Cottage.

Do you currently provide fishing kayak shuttle service?
We do on our upriver route only, and there must be a minimum of two people.   At the time of your reservation, please let us know if this is what you are requesting.    Please do not ask us to provide customized trips or shuttle to areas where we do not have agreements in place with landowners.

Can I fish while I kayak on your downriver route?    No.  As discussed in other places on our website, our downriver kayak float is a timed float and usually is a group between 4 – 14 kayaks.   Fishing while kayaking is a much slower pace, and there is the added danger of hooking someone.   Ouch!  This may seem like we’re being overly cautious.   Believe me, we’re not.   These things happen, and we’ve learned from experience.   We limit fishing to our upriver kayak route where customers must provide their own kayaks.    .

Is the river deep?
The answer varies with the amount of rainfall. During normal summer conditions, the river may be shallow.   We follow the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service Latest Observed Value in Gate City, Virginia for a better understanding of the depth.  Sometimes it is best to talk with a “live” person, so we encourage you to call ahead and ask about river conditions.  When the river is shallow, it  may be necessary that you get out of your kayak and pull it through the shoals. However, we ask that you keep in mind that the river is a natural environment. It may be shallow in places and deep in places.  We are always mindful of river conditions as we check the depth, temperature, and the velocity daily.

How cold is the river?  Will I get wet?
In the summer months, the river is refreshing but not cold.  You may or may not get wet–this might depend on whether you want to get wet or not!

Is there a weight limit?
The Jackson singles will support a weight capacity of 275-300 pounds and the Jackson tandems (for two people only) will support a combined weight capacity of 450 pounds.    We also continue to have a limited number of Old Town Twister single kayaks which support a weight capacity of 275 pounds.   For those who desire a tandem that will support two adults and a small child, we have the Perception Rambler kayak which has a weight capacity of 550 pounds.

Likewise, to rent a kayak, we recommend a minimum weight of at least 50 pounds.

What are the age requirements?
Kayakers under the age of 18 (at the time of the registration) are required to have a Liability Waiver form completed and signed by a parent or guardian before they rent watercraft or enter the water.  Personal flotation devices (PFDs) must be worn at all times by children 13 and under (Virginia law).  You may bring your own PFD from home (make sure it has at least a Type II Coast Guard-approved label inside) or if you’re renting a kayak, get one from us at no additional cost.

Kayakers should be at least 6 to 8 years old and with a level of maturity that the child’s parent feels is acceptable for steering and navigating a kayak, but at these early ages, a parent must accompany.    The minimum weight is 50 pounds. For younger children, a tandem (two seater) kayak with a parent navigating might be the best option.   A few folks have asked about bringing infants (two years or under) along.  We do not allow this.

While we do keep smaller life vests on hand with a crotch strap, they are limited in number; so please advise us of this need when you make your reservation.

For safety reasons,  we  reserve the right to refuse services based upon size and/or weight.

Do you need to be physically fit to go kayaking?
Recreational kayaking is not considered to be strenuous by most people. However, it will involve some work on your end depending on the water level, so if there is a concern, you may wish to check with your doctor.   The lower the water level, the more work required.   Those who rent our kayaks must be able to get into and out of the kayak on their own as during low water levels, it may be necessary to get out and pull the kayak for a few yards.  While you may not get wet, do plan on at least your feet getting wet.

Do you have to be able to swim?
Non swimmers may go kayaking with us and should do fine since the river is relatively shallow in most places (although there are places where it may be over your head). The biggest danger for a non swimmer is the fear of water.  For those renting our watercraft, we supply (at no cost to you) Type II Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices you can wear to support you should you end up in the river.   If you are using your own watercraft, you are required to have at least a Type II Coast Guard-approved PFD with you as well.

Why am I required to wear shoes?
During launch and pickup, shoes are required to walk to and from the river bank as well as step into the river.  The river is a natural environment that includes sharp rocks and an occasional piece of glass.  You will be much more comfortable and safe with shoes.   We require tennis shoes, water sandals or river shoes–no flip flops or shoes without a back strap. This applies to everyone whether you are renting our watercraft or furnishing your own.   While we are not in the business of selling water shoes, we do keep them on hand and sell them as a convenience for our guests.

River Shoes

Do you have a life guard on duty?
No, there is no life guard.

May I bring my dog?
While we love dogs and you’ll see River or Darby in our pictures from time to time, dogs are not allowed on our kayak trips.   Kayak trips average over two hours, and this is a long time for a dog to remain in a kayak.   Also, our neighbors have asked us to not allow dogs as there have been past incidents of dogs leaving a kayak and going on someone’s property chasing their chickens, cats and dogs.  (This wasn’t one of our guests.)  Finally, there is wildlife along the riverbanks that is very tempting to a dog.   If your dog happened to leave the kayak and go on a chase, you might have difficulty finding it.

Likewise, we do not allow you to bring your dog and leave it at base camp while you are on the river.    It’s best to leave your dog at home when you visit Adventure Mendota.

Do you have a picnic area available?
Yes, we do offer picnic areas but they are on a first-come, first-serve basis.  We have picnic tables, but you are also welcome to spread a blanket under the willow trees along the river bank.  We have a grill that can also be reserved but there is a $15 fee for its use, and it must be reserved ahead of time.  

Do you have restrooms?
Yes, we have two indoor restrooms and we strive to keep them very clean for our guests. In addition, we have two changing rooms outside.  These changing rooms were added at the request of our kayak guests.   

Why don’t you offer stand up paddle boarding?
During the months we operate, the North Fork is too shallow for stand up paddle boarding.   Unlike a lake, our riverbed is extremely rocky and some of the rocks have sharp edges.  It’s not a risk we are willing to take.  Likewise, do not attempt to create a “make shift” stand up paddle board with our kayaks.  Our recreational sit–on-top kayaks are meant for recreational river kayaking only.    Standing up in the kayaks would be considered horseplay which is not allowed.

May I leave my kayak and get out of the river?
There is no public access on the North Fork in Washington County except in Saltville.  This means that the riverbanks are private property and you should not trespass.   Adventure Mendota kayakers must agree that they will not leave the watercraft unless there is an emergency situation or possibly, during shallow river conditions, to pull their kayaks across a rock should they become stuck.

Why do you ask kayakers to stay close to other kayakers they launch with?
This only applies if you are going on our downriver kayak run. It does not apply to our upriver run for those using their own kayaks. For our downriver kayak trip, we require that you stay in visual distance of the kayak group you launched with.   We do this for several reasons.   First, a large portion of your kayak trip is in a remote area, and this is not a “guided” kayak experience.  We feel that by staying in a group with your kayak “buddies” your experience will be safer and more secure.   Likewise, you are traveling downriver, and we only make one pickup for your group.   We cannot wait on individuals who lag behind.

Do you accept credit cards, Apple Pay or Android Pay?
We accept most credit cards and your Apple Pay or Android Pay is generally accepted, depending on your hardware and software versions.   Check out to see if your device is compatible with Square’s  contactless and chip card readers.

More questions?   Call us at 276-645-1020!