Upper James River Water Trail

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The Upper James River Water Trail is comprised of the first 64 miles of the iconic James River in Virginia. The river begins in Botetourt County at the confluence of the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers as it meanders through Botetourt and Rockbridge Counties. The first 61 miles of the trail is designated as Virginia Scenic River. These headwaters provide some of the finest recreational paddling and fishing available in Virginia. The river is ideally suited for canoeing or kayaking with great scenery, Blue Ridge mountain views, miles of undeveloped shorelines, and plenty of fun and exciting class I & II rapids. The Upper James River Water Trail features numerous river access points along the river corridor providing many paddling options ranging from a short tubing trip, to a multiday overnight paddle camping trips.

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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