The James River starts at the confluence of the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers in Botetourt County north of Roanoke, Virginia. Roughly 46 miles of river flow through the county before crossing into neighboring Rockbridge County for approximately 20 more miles. The Water Trail also encompasses a stretch of the Maury River, including where it meets the Upper James in the charming town of Glasgow, Virginia.
The Upper James River Water Trail is easy to access in both Botetourt and Rockbridge Counties. It is within a 4 – 6 hour drive of most of Virginia and parts of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The river is easily reached via I-81. I-64 is only 20 miles to the north. Washington, DC, is 230 miles northeast and Winston-Salem, NC is 122 miles south.