James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 4.73'
Flow: 4020 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 10:48pm
Low Tide: 5:36pm

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Riverside Outfitters’ Brown’s Island ‘Outpost’ enters fourth season

Andy Thompson

May 20, 2015 4:01pm

This Saturday, our friends at Riverside Outfitters will open their Brown’s Island Outpost for the fourth straight year. Last year was a kind of watershed for the location: Rentals of mountain bikes, kayaks and standup paddleboards jumped from 900 the year before to 2,300 between roughly Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

"Ducky" trips from Brown's Island to the 14th St. Takeout are now one of the offerings at Riverside Outfitters' Outpost. Credit: Rich Young

“Ducky” trips from Brown’s Island to the 14th St. Takeout are now one of the offerings at Riverside Outfitters’ Outpost. Credit: Rich Young

RO owner Matt Perry attributes some of that to being open seven days a week (as opposed to four in 2013) but even more to the word of mouth the location has built in three years. Now, he said, people know that Brown’s Island is a place they can go for an hour to paddle around in the flatwater below Belle Isle. Tourists are discovering it, as well, and taking bikes along the canal and over to Belle Isle and beyond.

Perry added that all the equipment is new this year and that rental options and rates will remain the same this year — mountain bikes are $10 per hour, SUPs and sit-on-top kayaks are $15.

But there is one cool addition to the Outpost’s offerings. Starting on June 15, RO will offer what they call “Walkup Whitewater.” At 11:30, 1:30 and 3:30 — for $25 per person — they’ll be running guided trips in inflatable kayaks, a.k.a. “Duckies,” from Brown’s to the 14th St. Takeout, taking on the famous Pipeline Rapids along the way.

Connor O’Donnell, a Monacan High and William and Mary grad who’ll be in charge of the Outpost this summer, said they even hope to have remote control boats for kids too small to rent kayaks to play with in the canal.

For more information, check out the Riverside Outfitter’s website.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?