The James River is Virginia’s largest river, flowing across the entire state from its beginning at the headwaters of the Cowpasture and Jackson Rivers in Bath and Highland Counties, to its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton Roads. The river is 340 miles long, which makes it one of the longest rivers in America that begins and ends in the same state.
The James River Watershed encompasses approximately 10,000 square miles, which makes up almost 25% of the state. It is home to one-third of all Virginians who live in its 39 counties and 19 cities and towns, and touches the lives of more Virginians than any other feature on the landscape.
- The fall zone around Richmond drops the James 105 feet in seven miles.
- The James was home to the first permanent settlement of the British Empire at Jamestown.
- The James was home to the first colonial capitol at Williamsburg and is home of the modern capitol at Richmond.
- The James boasts the largest roosting area on the Eastern Seaboard for Bald Eagles.
Source: James River Association
“For 343 miles, the James River sweeps across the state of Virginia, connecting the Allegheny Mountains with the Chesapeake Bay. It is a massive watershed, a vital source of drinking water, a habitat for key aquatic species, and an important source of recreation. The most well-known section of the James may be the park and play whitewater paradise through downtown Richmond…” ~ Graham Averill, blueridgeoutdoors.com