As the weather cools and leaves begin to change colors, now is the perfect time of year to explore Virginia’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Three Ridges Wilderness and James River Face Wilderness offer strenuous hikes with numerous opportunities to enjoy fall foliage. Less strenuous hikes with excellent payoffs include Humpback Rocks and Spy Rock. But let’s be honest, the best way to experience the fall foliage of the Blue Ridge Mountains is on the Upper James River Water Trail. This blueway begins at the confluence of the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers, flows downriver through Botetourt and Rockbridge Counties and passes by the Towns of Buchanan and Glasgow.

Earlier this year, the James River Association and seven partners including Botetourt and Rockbridge Counties, Towns of Buchanan and Glasgow, Twin River Outfitters, Wilderness Canoe Co., and Chesapeake Conservancy were awarded a grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program to extend the Upper James River Water Trail. The grant funds the extension of the water trail from Alpine to Snowden and allows partners to redesign the brochure and map, update the website, add three new informational kiosks along the trail, and promote it. The project is anticipated to be complete by the beginning of the 2017 paddling season.

Grab a canoe, kayak, raft, or standup paddleboard and enjoy a new perspective on the Blue Ridge Mountains this fall!