The Upper James River Water Trail

turtlesThe mighty James River begins its majestic journey in Botetourt County and winds through Rockbridge County, the Blue Ridge Mountains and southern Shenandoah Valley on its way to the Chesapeake Bay. The unspoiled beauty of the river is more accessible than ever through the Upper James River Water Trail. Paddlers, anglers and families can get back to nature and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Upper James and a portion of the Maury River. See the mountains like you’ve never seen them before on the Upper James River Water Trail.

 

Plan an unforgettable visit

Upper James River courtesy of Aaron Black-Schmidt
image courtesy of Aaron Black-Schmidt

The Upper James River Water Trail runs through Botetourt and Rockbridge counties. It offers paddlers breathtaking views as well as countless other ways to enjoy the mountains. Both counties are filled with outdoor recreation opportunities including fishing, hiking, mountain biking, road cycling and more.


When you’re not on the river, you’ll find authentic mountain towns to explore complete with historic sites, cozy lodging, great restaurants, craft beverages the kind of warm hospitality you’d expect in the mountains of Virginia.


 

 

Plan a getaway that your family and friends will remember forever:

Plan a Visit to Botetourt Plan a Visit to Rockbridge County

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Hello everyone! Im new to this page, as well as new to the kayaking adventures! I was wondering if anyone would have a good suggestion on what good river to float down with less rapids (don’t want to slide kayak over more than I have too). Last weekend we went down Johnson River from Johnson Spring to Petticoat Junction (5 hours). How is the float from Eagle Rock to Buchanan Swinging Bridge? Thank you 🙏 ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago

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The stretch you describe, which is Sections 4, 5 and 6 on the map on our website, is all pretty mild when the river is at normal level. You'll find a bunch of Class I rapids, which are basically little ripples, and a few Class II, but not anything higher than that. The easiest stretch of all is Section 6, which ends in Buchanan within sight of the swinging bridge. It's short section that is popular with tubers. Have fun! Descriptions of each section can be found here: upperjamesriverwatertrail.com/plan-a-trip/suggested-itineraries/

Unsafe Water Levels Next Few DaysRecommend you stay out of the Upper James River this weekend until the water levels drop to safe levels. Always check the river gauge before you paddle and don't paddle in high / unsafe conditions.water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=rnk&gage=bnnv2&view=1,1,1,1,1,1 ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago
Unsafe Water Levels Next Few Days

Recommend you stay out of the Upper James River this weekend until the water levels drop to safe levels. 

Always check the river gauge before you paddle and dont paddle in high / unsafe conditions.

https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=rnk&gage=bnnv2&view=1,1,1,1,1,1

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Amber Lee Gallier Chase Gallier Tony Barbato Maria Stewart Kari Nunnally

Chase Gallier

Did you know that the Chesapeake Trail intersects with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail? The longest footbridge on the AT crosses over the James River in Snowden, Virginia. Though Captain John Smith never reached this far up the James River, he heard secondhand about the Indigenous peoples who lived there, like the Monacan who mined copper from the mountains. Appalachian National Scenic Trail Upper James River Water Trail#appalachiantrail #at Image credit: Flickr user Kipp Teague (CC, some rights reserved) ... See MoreSee Less

3 months ago
Did you know that the Chesapeake Trail intersects with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail? The longest footbridge on the AT crosses over the James River in Snowden, Virginia. Though Captain John Smith never reached this far up the James River, he heard secondhand about the Indigenous peoples who lived there, like the Monacan who mined copper from the mountains. 

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Upper James River Water Trail
#AppalachianTrail #AT 
Image credit: Flickr user Kipp Teague (CC, some rights reserved)
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