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James River in Virginia

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

This is a great 3-4 hour trip of the James right though the city. Put in under the Huegonot Bridge and paddle downriver toward the city. You will first encounter a wide, flat, slow moving area where you can always see the fish splashing the surface. At the first fork, stay river right; it is fairly obvious (the left will take you to a 10' waterfall with no portage around it and you'll have to paddle back mile up stream; I've done it and it's not fun!).

If the river is normal to low, you'll have to use the portage to cross the large natural fall line. The signs are clearly marked. You will then pass through Pony Pasture where you will almost certainly paddle by people playing and swimming around the rocks. The water can get a bit swift here and the rocks are sometimes inches under your boat. It's the only way through, so watch out. There is a natural beach toward the end of the park if you need to pull off the river and eat lunch.

For a while, the river opens back up and becomes calm. You will pass a golf course and country club on river right as you come up to the Powhite Prkwy bridge. The water may be calm or moving fairly fast here; all depending on the water level. It is generally easier to stay left, but there is no telling how the river has washed up debris. The water remains swift until after you paddle under the train bridge.

From here on stay right. Another mile down is the take out point for Reddy Creek. You will cross under one more bridge then you have to keep your eyes open for a white sign nailed to a tree; take the fork right and paddle through some small puddles untill you see a building on the right. Take the trial up and cross the RR tracks to get to the parking lot.


"Expert" permits are required if river level is over 9 feet


Take Huegonot Road toward Richmond (North) then exit right before the bridge onto Riverside Drive. Go left 1/4 miles and the road ends at the launch site.

Take out location is approx. 3-4 miles down Riverside Drive on the left. It can be gotten to easily by merging right on Riverside from Westoverhills Blvd. It will be the second park area on the left off Riverside.

Trip Details

  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location