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City of Richmond, Virginia Parks - James River Park

City of Richmond, Virginia Parks - BEST Placess to Picnic

City of Richmond, Virginia
Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities
900 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

Phone: (804) 646-5733

Enjoy James River Park

7 Sections of Park Along Nearly 550 Acres of Park
The largest park in Richmond may well be the most popular, most diverse and most unusual! It includes nearly 550 acres lining both banks of the James River from Huguenot Flatwater to Ancarrow�s Landing. It is an area of unspoiled natural beauty and adventure recreation unlike that found in any other city in the country!

James River Park offers opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, jogging, swimming, hiking, rock-climbing, fishing, boating, sunning, bird -watching, and nature study, many within a few blocks of the City�s downtown residential, business and financial district. But the most dramatic feature of the park is the river itself!

The park is a unique area of wilderness shoreline located within the heart of a growing urban city. Made up of seven sections, the park offers visitors woods, islands, meadow with unusual plants, wildlife and excellent fishing. The park trails are excellent for biking. Hiking the park�s major trails offers new enjoyment in each season. Excellent canoeing is available for both flat and white-water trips.

Educational programs are available for groups by reservation and are scheduled frequently on weekends for interested individuals. Picnicking is allowed throughout the park, but glass containers and alcohol are strictly prohibited.

The Main Section of the park is located on the south side of the James River between the Boulevard and Lee Bridges. Information maps, trail guides, interpretive tours can be found at the Visitor Center (open by appointment only) or you can request a map by calling 804-646-5733.

Pony Pasture Rapids is located on the south bank two miles downstream from the Huguenot Bridge on Riverside Drive. Fishing is excellent at this point and this area is considered to be one of Richmond�s best locations for birdwatching and inner tubing. An easy whitewater canoe run begins here and ends at the visitor center.

Huguenot Flatwater also on the south side of the river, can be found directly under the Huguenot Bridge near Richmond�s western edge. This is a good place to launch canoes for flat water boating.

North Bank Park (Texas Beach) is on the river�s north side at the end of Texas Avenue. A pedestrian bridge takes visitors across railroad tracks and the canal down to the river�s edge. Fishing is also very good at this point, but the trails are not maintained.

Belle Isle is found directly under the Lee Bridge and may be reached on foot from the northside of the river via the pedestrian bridge suspended under the Lee Bridge. The island is the site of a notorious Civil War prison and the remains of a historic iron foundry are sill visible. Excellent whitewater rapids may be found at Belle Isle with kayaking and canoeing being popular sports here for highly skilled paddlers. Good fishing is also available.

Wetlands � wildlife area. Low meadow surrounded by remnant swamp forest located at the end of Landria Drive. A small pond with 3 birdblinds and a tiny sand beach. There is parking available for 10 cars.

Pumphouse � 3-Mile Lock Park
Take the Boulevard through Byrd Park, follow Blanton Avenue to Pumphouse Road and then turn right. The remaining structures indicate how the James River front was used in the 19th century. The impressive Victorian Gothic Pumphouse still stands where it was built in 1883. It was abandoned in 1924. Still plainly visible, down a path from the Pumphouse, are stone locks used on the James River and Kanawha Canal. One structure, a stone arch, is part of the original canal built in 1789. George Washington, considered the father of this and other canal systems, passed through here when he traveled this section in 1791. Open during daylight hours.

Richmond Boat Ramp (Ancarrow�s Landing)
To reach Ancarrow's landing, take I-95 to the Maury Street exit. Head east on Maury and follow road around municipal sewage plant. Follow signs to parking area on left. Parking is available for 200 cars. Ancarrow�s Landing is a boat landing and fishing spot that is one of the area�s most valuable historic sites. It is the place where William Byrd is believed to have established Richmond when he set up his trading post. Later, slave ships docked there in the 1700s and 1800s. It became known as Ancarrow�s Landing because it also was the home of Newton Ancarrow�s speedboat-manufacturing company.

Take a Walk along the Slave Trail. The trail starts at Ancarrow�s Landing. Walk the trail many imported slaves took upon their arrival and entry into Virginia at Manchester Docks to Richmond. The same route also took some slaves sold from Lumpkin�s Jail and other establishments in downtown Richmond during the antebellum years to the docks to be exported. The walk is 1.3 miles in length. Please wear comfortable walking shoes. Group tours can be arranged by calling 804-646-8911.

Lastly, the Great Ship Lock Park on Dock and Pear Streets. The great lock, built between 1850-1854, connected the James River with the Richmond Dock, completing the James River and Kanawha Canal system that bypassed seven miles of falls and continued 197 miles through Virginia�s western mountain ranges.

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