James River - Watkins

by  GPaddle
  • View from an island

    View from an island

A self-supported trip created by GPaddle

Trip Overview

We left mid-day from Watkins Landing just West of highway 288 and headed up-river about 2.5 miles before having lunch, doing some fishing, and floating back down. There was a very large concrete ramp and a small dock. Fishing was unsuccessful, but we were able to easily pull off on the sandy beaches of small islands and explore. Most of the riverside was either wooded or farmland with a thin barrier of trees and we didn't see too much wildlife, just a couple turtles sitting on sunken trees and normal birds. At the top end of the trip we crossed a group of four islands, this is section has a Class II rapid (in normal water conditions). Passing the first two islands there are some riffles and a little more flow, but very easily navigable. When passing the second two we elected to hug the right bank to avoid the main rapid section, this was doable with about a minute of heavy and quick paddling from the both of us but the flow gets quite strong against you. This is about where any kayaks we saw on the water would turn back. Above the rapids the water is calm and there are a few eddys where you can escape the current and catch your breath. We spent some time fishing at that point, to no avail, and then rode the rapids back down. The rapid is relatively brief and easy, with large rocks that are very visible at the surface.

Safety Notes

Be prepared for moving upstream through rapids if trying to pass the islands, there are very few places to pull out of the flow

Gear Notes

Old Town Guide 160


Sunny, Low 60s, Water was around 5.5 ft and low flow

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 10/17/2020
  • Sport/Activity: Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location