It’s summertime in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and that means it’s time to relax and cool off in the cool waters of the James River. Choose your mode of transportation on the James: Kayak, Canoe, Tube, or even a Raft for some white water. It’s an easy drive from Steeles Tavern Manor B&B & Alpine Getaway Cottages to a number of launch sites on the James.
The James River’s headwater is in Botetourt County and winds through our home county, Rockbridge, where it connects to the Maury River. This section of the winding water is known as the Upper James River Water Trail and is mapped and described in detail so you can find many points of interest along the way. The Water Trail has a list of public access points mapped out too. You can experience the Blue Ridge Mountains from a unique and different perspective when paddling along with fish under you, birds above you, and other wildlife on the banks watching you float by. This section of the river has a few Class I and Class II rapids to add a little excitement to the ride!
Fishing is another fun pastime on the James. Small mouth bass is the main catch but there are a few spotted and large-mouth bass as well. And if you want to venture off the river and up a few of the creek tributaries, you can try your hand a catching Rainbow or Brook Trout. Get your fishing license online as part of your pre-trip planning!
If you can’t bring your own kayak or canoe, you can rent one from one of our local Outfitters. There are three Outfitters nearby and all of them can provide all the maps, PFDs, boats, and paddles you will need for a one-day trip or a longer trip if the river keeps calling you. Wilderness Canoe Company is in nearby Natural Bridge Station, VA. Twin Rivers Outfitters is located in Buchanan, VA and can equip you with everything you need for a day – or two – on the James or Maury Rivers. Arcadia Adventures, LLC specializes in kayak rental and shuttle and is also in nearby Buchanan, VA.
The James River flows through the heart of Virginia and has been a crucial part of the Commonwealth’s history. Jamestown was the first permanent English Settlement in America and dated from 1607. Settlers followed the River west and began to grow tobacco and create lively towns along the James. This “old man river” saw action in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. During the 1800’s, goods needed to be transported and canals and then railroads followed the river route. When you travel down the river, you can imagine the historic events that occurred along this majestic body of water.
As you enjoy your day on the James River, remember that we all live downstream. Take care of this natural resource by taking your trash with you and leave only wakes in the water and footprints on the shoreline. Make your reservation to stay with us and enjoy a few days or “water therapy”.