The James River drops 105 feet in elevation between Bosher’s Dam at Richmond’s western edge to where the tides begin at Mayo Bridge. This seven miles — the Falls of the James — is home to America’s best urban whitewater. From Bosher’s Dam to Reedy Creek, the rapids are mostly Class I and II. Below Reedy, the downtown rapids challenge even experienced boaters with narrow runs through Class III and IV water. Of course, there’s plenty of flatwater, too, for more laid back paddlers, anglers and family canoe trips. That’s what’s great about paddling in Richmond, the James can be both challenging and accessible.
Of course, the James isn’t the only body of water available to paddlers. It just hogs all the press. There’s Swift Creek Lake in Pocahontas State Park; the Appomattox River, down around Petersburg; the South and North Anna rivers up near Ashland, and much more.
Welcome to Richmond — urban paddling nirvana.