is an artificial whitewater course at the Mirant Power Plant, built in 1992 for Olympic athletes to prepare for the Barcelona Olympics. U.S. slalom athletes competing at the national and international levels use the Dickerson course to prepare for races.
Why go to Dickerson? As the only place in the DC area where a class III boater can get exposure to the power and turbulence of class IV whitewater, Dickerson is a remarkable resource in the greater Metropolitan area to prepare for challenging rivers like the Upper Yough and the Upper Gauley. The course is an important element in the Liquid Adventures Program.
Our program is run in cooperation with the Potomac Whitewater Racing Center and offers an opportunity to practice advanced techniques with some of the most experienced kayak instructors in the country. The course is designed to practice class IV moves with class III consequences. You can develop river running skills and practice precise moves in fast water. The artificial rapids test your ability to think and react quickly to fast whitewater, playholes and recirculating eddies.
Classes will cover topics such as stroke technique for whitewater, rolling in heavy water and swim and rescue training.
Who: Intermediate (class III) and Advanced (class IV) boaters
What: A package of three, 2 hour classes
Where and when: Currently Open Paddling Sessions and Instructional lessons at Dickerson are held Saturdays or Sundays. Please check the Calendar or email the office for time and the latest information.
What to bring: You can bring your own boat and equipment or rent one from us. See what to bring for details.
Cost: $150 for three 2 hour-long classes or $60 for a single class.
Prerequisites: In addition to a solid whitewater roll and experience on class III rapids, the course requires PWRC membership which must be purchased separately. Please contact our office for more information. Click here for more about becoming a PWRC member.
Course cancellations: At times the Dickerson course will be closed due to construction and repair projects by the Genon Power Plant, or because of PWRC races held on the course, or because in late summer the water temperature is too hot. Occasionally the Potomac floods out the course and forces us to cancel. If the Potomac is 5′ or above on the Little Falls Gauge or if the water temperature in the course is 100 F. or more, the course will be closed, and notice of closure can be seen on the Liquid Adventures Calendar.
Please go to our registration page (to the right) to sign up and consult the Calendar for dates.
Dickerson Open House: Every year in late October, PWRC and LAKS holds an Open House where paddlers can try out the course without a PWRC Membership Card. There are qualified instructors who introduce newcomers to the course. The Open House is a fundraiser for the PWRC which benefits the US National Slalom Team. You can register on the PWRC website.