Connect with the James

James River Guided Paddles

Join us for guided canoe and kayak trip on the James River and its tributaries to ‘Paddle to Protect’.

Pontoon Boat Tours

Join our education team on ‘The Spirit of the James’, for a tour near Richmond, VA.

The Great Return

Celebrate James River Week & the Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon with James River Association!

James River Rx

Spending time in nature, especially near water, offers great benefits to our emotional, mental, and physical well being. Take care of yourself and join James River Association staff members on an upcoming program to learn about the river and become a better steward of our natural resources.

James River Rx: Space for the ‘Wild’

When was the last time you saw something that just made you think “How is something this beautiful on Earth even possible!?” For me, it was a recent visit to our beautiful Upper James watershed. We are so lucky to have such large protected areas of wilderness in our...

James River Rx: Stop and See the Colors

And just like that, Autumn is here! The cool air, the smell of backyard bonfires, the twirling leaves as they fall from the trees, and the colors...all of the colors! It starts with the yellows of Goldenrod and the purples of Mistflower and New York Ironweed. Then our...

James River Rx: Rest Up Friends, the Earth Needs You

I see you friends, and I know you have moments of feeling heavy and at times, discouraged. This moment where the Earth is asking us to be part of a collective healing, can be overwhelming and at times a lot to hold. I see so many passionate, humble, and knowledgeable...

James River Rx – Finding Support along the Riverbanks

One thing is for certain, life will bring us highs and lows, moments of calm and moments of chaos. How do we manage to stay grounded through it all? This is a practice that we learn as we grow and observing nature can often give us insight into solutions. Our riparian...

James River Rx – What if

This month’s Rx blog is inspired by a June visit to the Upper James watershed for a Field Day that we, the James River Association along with partners, hosted in the Catawba Valley. I ended up staying in Roanoke and paid a little visit to the Roanoke River Blueway....

James River Rx – In the Forest, I am not Alone

Walks along the river in May were filled with vibrant greens, dancing birds, caterpillars inching along to their next meal, wild geraniums and coreopsis blooming, and people, enjoying the warm spring days. Ever since I was a child, the forest is where I feel...

James River Rx – Reciprocity: A Key Part of the Ecotherapy Equation

The James River and its forested banks are one of the most healing spaces that I know. There is a ton of science to back up why our riparian areas are so good at this, but based on the increase in visits to many of our riverside parks over the past year, we obviously...

(Re)Connect to Nature – A Practice in Finding Hearts

It’s so important for us to have a daily or at least weekly practice that gives us a moment to slow down, be present, and interact with the natural world. Not all of us are lucky enough to live in walking distance of a park, but simply finding a spot in your yard or...

(Re)Connect to Nature

Each month we are going to support you in exploring a deeper relationship with nature through connection exercises, upcoming programs, and resources that may offer inspiration and guidance. There is a ton of research that proves our health is improved by a greater...

FAQ’s and Paddle/Boat Registration Information

Preregistration is required for all programs. Participants must review and agree to the Essential Eligibility Criteria and the Release and Waiver of Liability to participate. The James River Association will provide canoes and kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices to participants. Participants are encouraged to bring sunscreen, a hat, a reusable water bottle, and wear comfortable clothing appropriate for being outdoors and getting wet. All proceeds go directly to our programing and connecting others to our river. Join our mission and ‘Paddle to Protect’.

 
If you have any questions about our programs, please contact Mike Lyden at mlyden@thejamesriver.org 

Cancellation Policy

Registration fees are not refundable, in the event of a cancellation, we will change your fee to a tax deductible donation. Please cancel your trip a minimum of 72 hours in advance so we have ample time to alert our staff. In the event a program is canceled, James River Association staff members will make an effort to reschedule it. 

Sign up for notifications

Interested in a paddle that hasn’t opened for registration? Our guided Connect with the James paddles fill up quickly, sign up here to receive a notification when trip registration open.

Connect with the James FAQs

I received an email about a trip, but I do not see it listed below. How can I find it?

Some of our trips fill up very quickly. If you received an email about an open trip, but the booking information is not listed below, the trip has been filled. Some trips fill within 12 hours of an announcement.

What ages can participate?

Anyone ages 16 and over may participate on a Connect with the James paddle. We do require a parent or guardian to register and fill out the waiver on the minors behalf.

Do you supply all the equipment?

Yes, JRA supplies the vessel, life jacket, paddle and shuttling of equipment. Participants are required to wear closed toe shoes, and are encouraged to wear sunscreen lotion, a hat and attire appropriate for the weather and bring a water bottle.

Can I move to a different trip?

We can possibly move your trip registration to a later date, if spots are available. Please contact info@thejamesriver.org to inquire about a rebooking, at least one week in advance of your scheduled trip.

Can I get a refund?

In the event of a weather cancellation, we will do everything we can to rebook you to a new trip date. If you are unable to make your trip, please let us know at least three days in advance and we can move you to a different trip. Registration fees are not refundable, in the event of a cancellation that can not be rescheduled, we will change your fee to a tax deductible donation.

Where do I meet the trip guide?

Each paddle below has a google map to the location site. Please use those directions to guide you to the appropriate location.

Paddle to Protect

Explore Powhatan Creek by Kayak

Join the James River Association for a guided tour of Powhatan Creek by kayak. Participants will launch from James City County Marina and learn about the natural and historic resources of Powhatan Creek and the James River. Kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices will be provided by James City County. 

Demand is high and these trips fill up fast. Because these trips are free – registration will open 2 weeks prior to the trip date. If you would like to be notified when trips open, please register for the notifications above. 

 Trip Dates:

Monday, June 10th; 5:30 pm
Monday, July 1st; 5:30 pm
Monday, August 5th; 5:30 pm
Monday, September 9th; 5:30 pm
Monday, October 7th; 5:30 pm

Spend an hour with our staff on Powhatan Creek discussing our waterway’s health and its effect on migratory birds. This trip is perfect for knowledgeable bird watchers and newbies looking to learn more about spotting local wildlife.

Demand is high and these trips fill up fast. Because these trips are free – registration will open 2 weeks prior to the trip date. If you would like to be notified when trips open, please register for the notifications above. 

Trip Dates:

Migratory Birds of Powhatan Creek Kayak Trip

Lynchburg Trips

Take a one-hour trip on our period-accurate replica of a James River Batteau. This large 40 foot long vessel provides ample room for up to 6 passengers to enjoy the local sights on the James River near Lynchburg. On the trip you will see old structures from the days of the Canal along the James, as well as experience the soaring views of the city as we float by. There are a variety of wildlife species to spot on this trip, and you will learn more about environmental conditions of the river as well as ways to protect the river for future generations. The trip starts and ends right at our office located in RiveredgePark in Amherst County which is directly across the river from downtown Lynchburg. A one hour trip is $250, limit of 6 passengers on the boat at one time. Trips are available between June.

1-Hour Trips:

Please contact Rob Campbell at rcampbell@thejamesriver.org to book your trip!

Lynchburg Batteau Trips

Guided 1-Hour Paddle in Lynchburg

Immerse yourself in nature and experience the beauty of the James on a guided paddle trip for up to 10 participants at Riveredge Park in Madison Heights, Virginia. Join an industry professional guide as they lead you on a 1-hour journey in a kayak or canoe, providing commentary on one of our three themed topics – birding, local history or fishing. As you gently paddle along, your knowledgeable guide will point out various native bird species that call the James home. Or learn all about the rich local history and heritage of the area, with stories dating back to early pioneers. If fishing is your passion, gain insider tips and techniques for catching some of the river’s abundant fish found in our region, and learn about the threats endangering them. Regardless of your chosen theme, you’ll experience breathtaking natural scenery along the way. Spend an hour relaxing on the river while building new skills and gaining a deeper appreciation of the river’s ecology and significance in the region. With an expert guide to enhance your adventure, this paddle trip provides a short yet immersive escape into the area’s iconic landscapes and is sure to create lasting memories.  

Trip Dates:

June 13th; 6:30pm; Theme: Local History 

June 27th; 8:30am; Theme: Birding

July 10th; 6:30pm; Theme: Fishing

July 24th; 8:30am; Theme: Birding

August 14th; 6:30 pm; Theme: Threats to the River

August 29th; 8:30am; Theme: Fishing

September 11th; 6:30pm; Theme: Local History History

September 19th; 6:30pm; Theme: Birding

Pontoon Boat Tours

Hopewell Trips

Join the staff of JRA and Artspace for a brand new experience on our educational pontoon boat, the Spirit of the James, and spend a couple hours sketching the James just down river of Richmond in Hopewell. Art Journaling is a journey of its own. We are going to explore a section of the James River discovering the possibilities of mark making in time, place and so much more. There will be instruction as we travel to our destination and the opportunity to explore the scenic James. No matter what your drawing skills, we are going to experience something new, something old, and a connection to a special place. JRA is excited to welcome Paul “Buddy” Terrell aboard the cruise, a local Richmond artist and Artspace Membership VP, as our special guest instructor. $35 per participant.

Trip Dates:

Saturday, June 15th; 9 am

Sunrise Sketching Cruise

Science on a Saturday Pontoon Boat Trip

Join the JRA program or education staff for a new ‘Science on a Saturday’ experience on our 40-foot educational pontoon boat, the Spirit of the James! Each trip will feature a different in-depth ‘science lesson’ sharing the current health of our river, how our work impacts the river and what you can do yourself to help! Spend a couple of hours with friends and fellow river lovers just down from Richmond in Hopewell. $35 per participant.

Trip Dates:

Saturday, June 29th; 9am
Trip Subject: Living Shorelines 

The Great Return

Celebrate James River Week and the Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon with the James River Association! Join staff members on an outing on the Spirit of the James, the James River Association’s pontoon boat. Participants will learn about the natural resources of the James River and the endangered Atlantic sturgeon, which make an annual migration up the James River in late summer where they often can be seen breaching out of the water!

 

Registration fees are not refundable, in the event of a cancellation, we will change your fee to a tax-deductible donation. Please cancel your trip a minimum of 72 hours in advance so we have ample time to alert our staff. In the event a program is canceled, James River Association staff members will make an effort to reschedule it. 

On these trips feel free to bring snacks or non-alcoholic drinks in a small bag. Large bags or coolers will not be allowed due to space restrictions.

The Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon – 2024 Registration opens August 1st!

Celebrate James River Week and the Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon with the James River Association! Join staff members for an outing on the Spirit of the James launching from Rocketts Landing Marina. Participants will learn about the natural resources of the James River and the endangered Atlantic sturgeon, which make their annual spawning migration up the James River in late summer. Ages 16 and up with a participating guardian are welcome.