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Posted In: Features, James River

Not So Secret, Secret Spots of the James River

Veronica Reddic

January 11, 2016 11:31am

Have you ever taken a trip to the river and just felt like there was a lack of space for you and your pup to just hang out together and enjoy the nice pristine scene of the river? Yea, I’m pretty sure all of us James River goers have experienced those times at the river where the crowds are too much to handle. Well, never fear, Ms. V is here to set you free!

I will be sharing with you guys some of the best sweets spots along the river that will allow you and your pup that relaxing alone time you guys so desperately seek. Whether you’re a new-comer to the city looking to explore this great river or someone who is just looking to get out and relax by the water, the info I’ll share with you  will be worthwhile and will have you wanting to hit the river more often.  To keep this more interesting, I’ll share a few sweets spots every month and will give direction to these spots as well as descriptions on what you can do there. So let’s get this started!

Sweet Spot No. 1:

Pump House Park

This is probably my absolute favorite spot to take almost all of my adventure-loving dogs. Pump House Park is home to a gorgeous Medieval-looking building, which is the Pump House. The building was constructed in the late 1800’s, and it was used to pump water to the William Byrd Park (formerly “New Reservoir Park”). The Pump House also provided a huge open air space on the top level that was used for social events. The building was abandoned in 1924 due to a newer and more sustainable building being built just east of it. In the area, are three canals that run to the east and the west, there are reading posts at each canal providing descriptions about the use of that canal.

This park offers trails that lead down to the river, historical self-guided nature trail tours. And directly across Pump House Drive are the Dogwood Dell hiking trails, which are amazing for tiring out an active dog. Now this place is pretty easy to navigate, some parts of the trail can be a bit difficult when you want to get to the river, other parts are easy-peasy.  The first and best way that I have found to get to the great spots of the river in Pump House Park are right across the bridge over the canal and down the stairs. Pass over one canal and turn to the right,  you will soon come upon a trail to your left that will have black tar-like gravel to lead the way.  You’ll want to follow that path and take it all the way across the tracks and then to another path. From the tracks you will soon be at the river. There are plenty of different spots to hang out and take a dip in the water.  The first area you come upon is perfect for rock hopping and making your way over to the island where you have access to some swimming spots and sunbathing spots. Farther down you’ll find great spots for some swimming as well as fishing.

Basically, this location is perfect for just about anyone, and it’s easily accessible by all fitness levels. A forewarning to those with dogs whose prey drive is pretty high, there are deer in the area so it’s best to have an open ear and eyes on your dogs, especially around the train tracks. Look out for the next portion of this segment coming very soon. Happy tails!


About Veronica Reddic

I am a native of St. Louis, Missouri, and I moved here for work. All I want to do is work with animals. I've worked with dogs and cats for five years at different dog kennels and volunteered at the city humane society in St. Louis. My goal in life is to work with marine mammals in settings that are educational to allow people to get a better understanding of the wonderful creatures that call our waters home. Outside of getting pups a fantastic workout for Canine Adventure, I work part time at Maymont Parks as an animal keeper in the Children's Farm. I hope to give dogs a great time outside of home and give them new experiences and great adventures.


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