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River Riders: Year round activities and fun with help of long standing partnership with the WV SBDC

River Riders: Year round activities and fun with help of long standing partnership with the WV SBDC


Only one hour from the DC and Baltimore Metro Regions, River Riders Inc. offers white water rafting, tubing, canopy tour/zip lining, aerial forest adventure parks, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, lodging options and fishing adventures on the beautiful Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers (class I-III) in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia where Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia come together.

River Riders Family Adventure Resort is Harpers Ferry’s very own outdoor adventure sports company. They offer white water rafting and other water adventures on the beautiful Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. 

For those wanting to stay dry, you can travel among the trees by exploring River Riders’ Aerial Adventure Park. The Adventure Park has 9 aerial forest challenge ropes course trails, 5 different levels of varying difficulty and 4 wooded acres of space, their Adventure Park provides hours of fun for all ages.

Each of our courses has approximately 12 elements, including ziplines! 

If you would like to just zip through the treetops then River Riders has you covered. They recently added a 1000 ft long zip line over the water along the Potomac River! 

Enjoy the views as you ride our network of seven ziplines, including the fan-favorite free fall rappel at the end, and navigate the adventure sky bridges towering above the forest floor. 

Even enjoy a weekend getaway and stay on the property in one of their cabins or campgrounds with several restaurants onsite. 

More recent additions to the property include new snow tubing for year round activities. 

From raft guide to owner 

“In college, a friend of mine saw an ad in the paper for a raft guide,” said Matt Knott, Owner of River Riders, “ Funny thing was it was for a different rafting company, but we ended up here”. 

Knott fell in love with raft guiding and stuck with it through college. “After college, I actually went to work for State Farm, but I kept raft guiding on the weekends.” When the original owner was looking to retire, Knott got an offer to take over business.

“I was helping the owner with some computer work and he offered to finance the business for me, “ said Knott. From there he was able to take over as owner of River Riders and continue to expand his outdoor recreation passions. “When I was 24 years old, my wife and I bought the business.” 

After Knott took over the business he learned owning your own rafting company has a lot of challenging factors and sometimes it is nice to have a team around that has your back. 

Meeting the WV SBDC 

River Riders was not always a year round outdoor and recreational company. 

Knott started working for the business in ‘94, then bought the business in ‘98, and has now owned the company for over 25 years. 

He originally started working with WV SBDC in 2012 and originally worked with business coach, Mary Hott. They initially helped with financing, preparing a business plan and presenting to banks, and planning for expansion. 

“The more you have your ducks in a row when you get to the bank or start talking to investors, the more professional presentation you can give, the easier it is to get through that process”, said Knott.

“I met Matt after I took over this account from my predecessor, Mary Hott,” said Michael Boyd, WV SBDC business coach. The WV SBDC helped River Riders apply for and take advantage of a tax credit program that made the expansion possible. 

Part of their recent expansion was the installation of their snow tubing attraction. “Now while we can’t see snow here today, there will be snow here in the winter. We are looking forward to a great season this year.” said Boyd. 

With up to 12 different tubing lanes, their snow tubing is fun for kids of all ages. River Riders’ snow tubing hill is almost 3 football fields long, making it the longest tubing slope on the East Coast. 

River Riders has now been with the WV SBDC for over 8 years and shows our commitment to all the small businesses and owners we work with. “It demonstrates the longevity of the client and coach relationship,” said Boyd. 

Working with the WV SBDC provides access to many services for small businesses to make sure your business has the support it needs to succeed in the Mountain State. 

While the summer season is coming to an end, be sure to stay tuned for our River Riders winter feature this year and buy your snow tubing tickets today! Learn more about River Riders

WV SBDC is an accredited member of America’s SBDC, a federal partner with the SBA, and a division of the WV Department of Economic Development. 

WV SBDC business coaches have professional certifications ranging from exporting, innovation, technology and economic development, to finance, management, marketing and entrepreneurship. 

For information about starting a small business in WV and resources for entrepreneurs, visit

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