James River Expeditions


The Adventure of a Lifetime

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime while learning about environmental and social benefits the James River provides Virginia!

The 2019 Expedition will include thirty students from all over the James River basin. This amazing journey all begins in Richmond as ten students and a team of experienced James River Association staff and educators begin their paddle to the Chesapeake Bay. The Expeditions will continue with two more six-day trips on the Upper and Middle James. Together, the three Expedition teams will have collectively paddled the 340 miles of America’s Founding River.

This year marks the 9th anniversary of this amazing adventure and is sure to be an experience that you will never forget. Over the past eight years, The James River Expeditions have taken 240 students, 29 adults and 45 schools in the James River watershed on the summer paddling trip of a lifetime.

Join the James River Association and the entire James River community on the 2019 James River Expedition!



For more information

For more information about the James River Expeditions contact JRA Environmental Educator, Caleigh Remocaldo at cremocaldo@jrava.org or at 804.788.8811 ext. 207.

By River Section

  • Lower James: Richmond to Hampton, June 23 – 28, 2019
  • Upper James: Iron Gate to Snowden, July 7-12, 2019
  • Middle James: Lynchburg to Cartersville, July 21 – 26, 2019

Join the Adventure! —  Still accepting applications – May 2019 

Application-for-Students-2019 (Word Document) Teacher Application 2019 (Word Document) Are you a high school student with an interest in leadership, the environment, new experiences, and working as a team with people from diverse backgrounds? If so, you should join the James River Expedition this summer for the adventure of a lifetime!

James River Expeditions Questions

1. Do we stay overnight on the Expeditions?
Yes, the Expedition is continuous, and we camp each night at various campgrounds, private properties, and parks. We will be sleeping in tents, in sleeping bags, on sleeping pads each night.

2. How many miles of the James River will we be paddling?
The Expeditions are broken into three trips, with each trip varying in number of miles:

  • Upper James River Expedition = 70 miles
  • Middle James River Expedition = 100 miles
  • Lower James River Expedition = 110 miles.

3. Who will be on the trip with me?
Students from different cities, towns, and schools throughout the watershed will be participating in each trip. You will meet your Expedition Team and leaders during a pre-trip informational meeting.

4. When is the $150 fee due?
We generally collect this fee during one of our pre-trip informational meetings. However, if this fee limits any student’s participation, it can be reduced or waived completely.

5. Has any student ever quit the Expedition before it is complete?
No, all previous Expedition students have completed the entire trip. However, we will make arrangements in case of medical or family emergency.

6. What will we eat?
We will prepare our own food in camp using propane stoves, a fire, and the food we pack with us.

7. Where do we take showers?
We will have very limited access to showers. To get clean, we will use a bucket of water and biodegradable soap.

8. How do I communicate with my friends and family? Will I be allowed to bring my phone?
Students will not be taking personal cell phones or any other electronics on the trip. We will be telling the story of our trip through the media and internet. Students will be able to write blogs and families and friends will be able to follow our progress closely by viewing the trip blog.

9. Where do we get our drinking water?
We fill large jugs with water at strategic points along the way. We will learn to conserve the water we have.

10. Where do we go to the bathroom?
For Number 1, it will be convenient for all trip participants to use the woods. For Number 2, we will use either the restroom facilities at campgrounds or a portable toilet that we will set up in a private place at each of our wilderness camps.

11. How safe is this trip?
Safety is absolutely the first priority for every member of the team, with our focus on prevention of accidents through careful planning and open communications. Staff members are trained in Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and Canoe Instruction and have experience running trips of this kind.

12. What happens during bad weather?
We are always mindful of the weather during Expeditions (severe thunderstorms, rain, excessive heat, etc.) Staff members are trained to take immediate safety precautions and evacuation routes are generally accessible within a few miles of any point on the river.

13. What sort of pre-trip preparation is provided for me?
Participants and their parents/guardians are required to attend a pre-trip informational meeting. This will be a great time to get into the nitty-gritty detail questions about the trip. Before this time, the James River Association will provide a detailed packing list, a trip itinerary, and a suggested reading list. We will always be standing by to answer all questions.