Upper James River - Water Sports

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The Upper James River Water Trail near Roanoke, VA, is a top-tier destination for thrilling water sports in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains. Perfect for kayaking and canoeing, this scenic river offers serene waters and gentle rapids, catering to both beginners and seasoned paddlers. Discover smooth paddling experiences near Buchanan or take on the exhilarating mild rapids for added excitement. For a fun and relaxing day, tubing down the river’s calm stretches is a favorite choice among families and groups. Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) enthusiasts will find the tranquil waters ideal for exploration and a refreshing full-body workout. Enjoy stunning views and frequent wildlife sightings as you paddle along the peaceful river. Swimming in the Upper James River is a delightful way to cool off, with numerous safe and inviting spots for a refreshing dip. Mild rafting adventures await with Class I and II rapids, offering a perfect blend of fun and safety for all ages. With well-marked access points and local outfitters providing guided tours, equipment rentals, and shuttle services, planning your water sports adventure on the Upper James River Water Trail is a breeze. Experience the unparalleled beauty and diverse recreational opportunities of the Upper James River Water Trail, the ultimate water sports destination near Roanoke, VA.

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  • 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.
  • Major Access Routes: I-81, US 220, Rt. 11, I-64