The Rapidan River
is the largest tributary
of the Rappahannock River
in North-central Virginia
. The two rivers converge just west of the city of Fredericksburg
. Sections of the lower Rapidan River will soon be preserved by a conservation easement. The Rapidan River begins on Doubletop Mountain where the Mill Prong meets the Laurel Prong at Rapidan Camp
, approximately 3 miles from Big Meadows
in the Blue Ridge Mountains
' Shenandoah National Park
It 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.
The Rapidan River ranks #38 in Trout Unlimited's Guide to America's 100 Best Trout Streams. 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, due to a nearly-complete lack of information about the impact of the designation, and the corresponding objection of every affected riparian landowner.