Upper James River Blueway
Fincastle, VA
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

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Brief Description: The Upper James River Water Trail meanders through beautiful Botetourt County located just northeast of Roanoke, Virginia. The trail is organized into five segments, each offering a unique experience. Along the 45 miles of the Upper James River in Botetourt County, you can get up close and personal with the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll experience the unspoiled beauty of the river as you paddle through scenic valleys and past rolling farmland while keeping a watchful eye out for native wildlife. Some Class I & Class II rapids along your journey will make it a fun day for all members of the family by canoe, kayak or tube.

Please note that boating, canoeing, kayaking and other activities on rivers can be dangerous. Be sure to read the on-line safety recommendations and check the on-line water gauge levels.

Location / Directions: There are six public access points on the Upper James River Water Trail that are owned and operated by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in Botetourt County. These sites are provided for the public with the expressed sole purposes of Boating and Fishing. For a complete list of these sites download a trail map.

To reach the area from outside the region you can find Botetourt County in the southwestern portion of the state in the scenic Roanoke Valley of Virginia. Strategically located on Interstate 81 and just 20 miles to Interstate 64, Botetourt County is within a 4-6 hour drive from much of the east coast. Richmond, the state capital, is 176 miles northeast; Washington, D.C. is 233 miles northeast; and Winston-Salem, N.C. is 122 miles south.

Physical Address: Upper James River Blueway
13 West Main Street, Box 10
Fincastle, VA 24090
Mailing Address: Upper James River Blueway
Botetourt County Office of Tourism
Fincastle, VA 24090
Phone: (540) 473-1167
E-mail: travel@botetourt.org
Activities:

The James River Blueway is best used by canoe or kayak. Tubing and fishing are also popular activities. If you’re bringing your own canoe or kayak, there are numerous public access points with free parking.

Be sure to read the on-line safety recommendations and check the on-line water gauge levels. Consult local conditions prior to any river trip and follow all safety precautions!

Boat Access Fishing Canoeing / Kayaking

Operating Hours: The formal water trail access points are open seven days a week year round. Due to water and air temperatures associated with a pleasant river experience most paddlers only access the water trail from April to October.
Fees: There are no fees for launch site use.
Visitor Facilities: There are six public access points on the Upper James River Water Trail that are owned and operated by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in Botetourt County. These sites are provided for the public with the expressed sole purposes of Boating and Fishing. These sites offer free parking. Download the water trails maps for locations. Section five of the trail offers several campsites.
Length: 45 miles / 72 kilometers
Website: http://upperjamesriverwatertrail.com/main/index.php?m=1&p;=3
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: The James River Trail contains Class I and Class II rapids but there may be some fast and narrow stretches that boaters will need to be aware of. Read more about the different levels of River Classifications.

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