James River Water Trail - Lower
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

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Brief Description: The James River is the southernmost major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, offering a wide range of recreational experiences. Flowing from the west, the James passes through Richmond and joins the Bay near Norfolk, not far from the Atlantic Ocean. With abundant natural fisheries and "breadbasket" marshes, the James River at the time of Captain John Smith's voyages supported eleven Algonquian-speaking groups, with some population estimates as high as 20,000. In May of 1607, the English arrived at a point up the river beyond Hog Island and established the first permanent English settlement: Jamestown. A hastily built palisade protected the English from both Spanish and Powhatan attacks. Four yeas later, another group of English colonists settled along the historic James River at Henricus.

Please note that boating, canoeing, kayaking and other activities on rivers can be dangerous. Obtain a local map in advance, plan your trip, and follow all safety precautions.

Location / Directions: .

The Lower James River Water Trail extends from the City of Richmond to the mouth of the James River in Hampton Roads with many public access points on both sides of the river. A water trail map and guide has been developed to assist boaters in traveling the river.
Mailing Address: James River Water Trail - Lower
Jenny West
James River Association
P.O. Box 909
Mechanicsville, VA 23111
Business Phone: (804) 730-2898
E-mail: jwest@jamesriverassociation.org
Activities: Under the sponsorship of many organizations, activities along the James include: photography, fishing, whitewater kayaking classes, ecology field trips, music and art festivals, clean-ups, canal cruises, guided nature trips, Civil War history programs, sunset river tours, James River Batteau Festival, river camp for children, eagle and heron observation, wheelchair birding, and family rafting.

Bay Art & Decoy Carving Fishing Tours / Walking Tours Swimming Canoeing / Kayaking

Visitor Facilities: .

The Lower James River Water Trail extends from the City of Richmond to the mouth of the James River in Hampton Roads with many public access points on both sides of the river. A water trail map and guide has been developed to assist boaters in traveling the river.
Length: 110 miles / 177 kilometers
Website: http://www.jamesriverassociation.org
Trail Map & Guide: A water trail map and guide has been developed to assist boaters in traveling the river. It can be ordered at the James River Association website

Safety Info: Remember: safe use of rivers and any designated trails, at any time, is your responsibility! Water trail maps are for informational and interpretive purposes only and are not meant for navigational purposes, nor do they take into account level of skills or ability required to navigate rivers. The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, the National Park Service and/or the individual trail associations assume no responsibility or liability for any injury or loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of water trails, maps or other printed or web-based materials. [View a list of water safety tips]
River Classification: A great varience. Some stretches are Class I or II. However, near Richmond, the rapids may be as high as IV to VI. Caution is urged. Read more about the different levels of River Classifications.

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Comments or Questions: Call: 1-800-YOUR-BAY