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Upper James River Water Trail

  • 16 East Main Street, Box 4
  • Fincastle, VA 24090
  • Phone: (540) 473-1167
  • Fax: 473-8605
  • Visit Website

The mighty James River begins its majestic journey in Botetourt County, winding through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains 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 45 miles of the Upper James, including 14 pristine miles designated as a Virginia Scenic River. See the mountains like you've never seen them before on the Upper James River Water Trail.

Fishing: From the confluence of the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers in Botetourt County, downstream to Richmond, the James River offers a wide range of angling opportunities and settings. Smallmouth bass are the dominant game species, but spotted and largemouth bass can also be caught. Overall, the James River offers an excellent fishing opportunity for whatever you might want. Canoeing is the best way to access the river, maps and narration for float trips are found under Maps & Access. Small boats can also be used at most access points. Bank and wade fishing access is also available throughout the river.



  • Major Access Routes: I-81, US 220, Rt. 11, I-64
  • Directions: There are multiple access points to the Upper James River Water Trail. It runs under I-81 as well as US 220 North. Please see the website for details about specific entry locations for the James River.

The Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau
101 Shenandoah Avenue NE | Roanoke, VA 24016
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