JAMES RIVER STATE PARK
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the park features rolling grasslands, quiet forests and beautiful views, as well as 3 miles of shoreline along the James River. Visitors can hike, bike, canoe, kayak, fish or tent camp on the banks of the historic river or at Branch Pond. Facilities include cabins, a visitor center, a gift shop, a natural playground, picnic shelters, multi-use trails, boat launches, water/electric campgrounds and equestrian camping. The park also has a universally accessible fishing pier and a .25-mile-long wheelchair-accessible trail around Green Hill Pond. The park is also a great place to view the annual James River Batteau Festival. A replica of one of the unusual vessels is displayed at the visitor center.
The waters of the James have shaped life in this area's past and will shape its future. Monacan Indians, the earliest known settlers, hunted, fished and traveled the river. In the early 1700s, the Cabell family settled along the river, cultivated the rich soils of the floodplain and shipped produce down river to Richmond. A flat-bottomed boat known as the bateau was invented and the Kanawha canal was built to make travel and shipping on the river easier. The James River brought people to this area, provided for their needs and helped them build a future.
Cabins are rented by the week between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. Rentals for cabins 1-4 and 6-9 begin on Saturday, and rentals for cabins 10-15, 17 and 18 begin on Sunday. This requirement is reduced to a four-night stay three months out and dropped to two nights in the last month before arrival. A two-night minimum stay is required for the rest of the year.
No bed rentals. Late arriving guests will find on the entrance station door a note with instructions detailing how to register the following morning and a park map with directions to the cabin. Guests must have the reservation number for each reservation.
Camping reservations are highly recommended, and all campgrounds are site-specific - call 1-800-933-7275. The park has five campgrounds. Three of them, Branch Pond, Walnut Grove and Canoe Landing, are open year-round for primitive camping. There are primitive restrooms at those campgrounds. Drinking water is unavailable in the primitive campgrounds, but potable water is available at five of the six picnic shelters. Canoe Landing is the only campground on the river.Please note that primitive sites do not have electricity.
Branch Pond - Seven primitive sites in a wooded area about two miles from the river BranchPondPrimTent. Tents only. Each site has a tent pad.
Canoe Landing - Ten primitive sites beside the river CanoeLandingPrimTent. Tents only. No parking at the campsite. It is a short walk from the parking area to the campsites. These sites are to the left of the canoe launch when facing the river. No tent pads.Rooftop tent friendly.Limited anchoring ability for hammocks.
Walnut Grove Five primitive sites, shaded. Short walk to the river. Tents only. No tent pads, electricity or water.Rooftop tent friendly.Limited anchoring ability for hammocks.
Canoe Landing Group Campsite one primitive site CLGroupCampsitePrim - There's a group site near the canoe landing. The site accommodates up to 42 people - no hookups, tents only. It's near a restroom and features a fire ring with a flip grill, picnic tables and a pedestal grill. There's a $30 fee for canceling a group-camping reservation.
Red Oak Campground 30 sites, RedOakEW40ft
Electric and water hookups the sites are shaded and can accommodate various equipment tents, pop-ups and RVs up to 40 feet. The sites have large tent pads and wide driveways for bump-outs.