James River State Park

104 Green Hill Dr., Gladstone, VA 24553; Phone: 434-933-4355; Email: JamesRiver@dcr.virginia.gov

Location of James River State Park in Virginia

About this park ...

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Latitude, 37.623271. Longitude, -78.809896.

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General Information

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 camp store, 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. James River State Park Outdoor Adventures, a full-service canoe livery, provides canoe, kayak and tube rentals as well as shuttle services. For more information about the livery (open seasonally), call 434-933-8682. The park is also a great place to view the annual James River Batteau Festival. A replica of one of the unusual vessels is on display at the visitor center.

To minimize the potentially harmful impact on wildlife and reduce debris in the park, James River is a trash-in, trash-out facility. Guests will find trash collection sites at the canoe landing campground, Red Oak Campground, near the cabin area entrance and by the park entrance.

Hours

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday. 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday. 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Location

Buckingham County. From U.S. 60 West, turn right onto Route 605 (Riverside Dr.) at the James River Bridge. Travel seven miles, then turn left onto Route 606.

Its address is 104 Green Hill Drive, Gladstone, VA 24553; Latitude, 37.623271. Longitude, -78.809896.

  • From Richmond, travel west on Rt. 60 towards Amherst for about 95 miles. Turn right onto Rt. 605 (Riverside Dr.), and go 7 miles to the park entrance on the left.
  • From Lynchburg, travel east on 460 to Appomattox. Take the Rt. 26 exit (Business 460). Turn left at stop light onto Rt. 26 (Oakville Rd.). Continue about 12 miles to stop sign at Rt. 60 and go straight across Rt. 60 onto Rt. 605 (Riverside Dr.). Continue 7 miles to the park entrance on left.
  • From Charlottesville, travel south on Rt. 29 and take the Rt. 60 east exit in Amherst. Travel 15 miles, then turn left on Rt. 605 (Riverside Drive). Go 7 miles and turn left at park entrance.
  • From Farmville, travel Rt. 15 north to Dillwyn, Sprouses Corner. Turn left onto Rt. 60 west and continue for about 25 miles. Turn right on Rt. 605 (Riverside Dr.) and go about 7 miles to park entrance on left.
  • Drive Time: Northern Va., three hours; Richmond, two hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, four hours; Roanoke, two hours; Charlottesville, one and a half hours; Lynchburg, 50 minutes.

Park Size

1,500 acres.

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Cabins, camping

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES

The park has primitive camping, regular camping, a camping lodge (bunkhouse), cabins and lodges. For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK. Click here for park fees.

Click here for details on reservation cancellation and transfer policies. A fee is charged per pet per night for cabin stays.

Visit a Flickr photoset of typical cabins and lodges at the park. Cabins and lodges vary. Dwellings may not match what's shown in the photos.

Lodges

Lodge 5 (L005-SAT) begins renting weekly during prime season on Saturday; Lodge 16 (L016-SUN) begins renting weekly on Sunday. Late arriving guests will find on the entrance station door a note that explains how to register the following morning. A map with directions to the given lodge will also be there. Guests must have the reservation number for each reservation.

  • Maximum occupancy: 16 (no bed rentals)
  • Check-in is 4 p.m. Check-out is 10 a.m.
  • Amenities: Refrigerator, stove, coffeemaker, dishes, dishcloth, dish towels, silverware, cooking utensils, pots, pans, microwave oven, toaster, can opener, clock radio, washer, dryer
  • One set of bed linens per bed and one set of towels per person are provided. These are not changed daily.
  • Consider bringing extra dish towels, paper towels, coffee filters, cooking spray, salt and pepper, toiletries, extra bath towels, flashlights, board games and cards.
  • No dishwasher, phone or TV
  • A payphone for emergency and local calls is available at the contact station.
  • Rustic furniture; mission style
  • Living area has a dining table and chairs
  • Picnic tables and fire-rings available for cabin guests in cabin area
  • Deck has an open porch with rocking chairs and end tables.
  • Maximum six cars; a daily parking fee is charged for additional vehicles, which must be parked in the designated overflow parking area.
  • Bedrooms - beds, nightstands, dresser, closet with hangers, clock radio
    • Two bedrooms have queen size beds
    • Two bedrooms each have two single beds
    • Two bedrooms each have two sets of bunk beds (four people per room)
  • Lodges are universally accessible.
  • Boat launching is free to overnight guests. There are no designated swimming areas.
  • No smoking
  • Fireplace with gas logs
  • Heated and air-conditioned with heat pump
  • Washer and dryer
  • Quiet hours begin at 10 p.m.; only overnight guests are permitted in the park after that time.

Cabins

Thumbnail of a cabin at James River State Park.

During prime season, cabins 1-4 and 6-9 begin renting weekly on Saturday. Cabins 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 and 18 rent weekly beginning on Sunday. No bed rentals. Late arriving guests will find on the entrance station door a note with instructions detailing how to register the following morning, as well as a park map with directions to the cabin. Guests must have the reservation number for each reservation.

  • Amenities: Refrigerator, stove, coffeemaker, dishes, dishcloth, dish towels, silverware, cooking utensils, pots, pans, microwave oven, toaster, can opener, clock radio
  • Check-in is 4 p.m. Check-out is 10 a.m.
  • One set of bed linens per bed and one set of towels per person are provided. These are not changed daily.
  • Consider bringing dish detergent, extra dish towels, paper towels, coffee filters, coffee, salt and pepper, nonstick cooking spray, toiletries, extra bath towels, flashlights, board games and cards.
  • No dishwasher, phone, TV, washer or dryer. There's a coin laundry in the Red Oak Campground, which is open from March 1 through the first Monday in December.
  • No smoking.
  • A payphone for emergency and local calls is available at the contact station.
  • Fireplace
  • The park provides a free bundle of firewood. More firewood can be bought at the cabin loop.
  • Rustic furniture; mission style
  • Living area: dining table, chairs
  • Bedrooms: bed(s), nightstands, dresser, closet with hangers, clock radio
  • Heated and air-conditioned with heat-pumps
  • Boat launching is free to overnight guests. There are no designated swimming areas.
  • Picnic tables and fire-rings for cabin guests are available in the cabin area.
  • Wrap-around deck; open porch with rocking chairs and end tables
  • Cabins 11 and 18 are wheelchair-accessible. Cabin 18 has one queen bed, a set of bunk beds and a couch with a pull-out bed in the living area.
  • Two vehicles are allowed per two-bedroom cabin, and three vehicles are allowed per three-bedroom cabin. A daily parking fee is charged for all other vehicles, which must be parked in the designated overflow parking area.
  • Quiet hours begin at 10 p.m. Only overnight guests are allowed in the park after 10 p.m.
  • The park has no water-view cabins per se.

Total sites of each cabin type: 2-bedroom frame, 14; 3-bedroom frame, 2; 6-bedroom lodge, 2

Cabin Types

2-bedroom frame cabin - maximum six people, one bath, one queen bed, two sets of bunk beds (sleeps four)

3-bedroom frame cabin - maximum eight people, two baths, one queen bed, two single beds in second bedroom, two sets of bunk beds (sleeps four) in third bedroom

6-bedroom lodge – maximum 16 people, three baths, universally accessible, two queen size beds in two bedrooms, two single beds in two bedrooms, two sets of bunk beds each in two bedrooms (sleeps four in each room)

Total: 16 cabins; 2 lodges.

Camping

Typical campsite at James River State Park.Camping reservations are highly recommended - call 1-800-933-7275. The park has four campgrounds. Two of them, Branch Pond 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.

Red Oak Campground has 30 regular sites with water and electricity and a full service bathhouse with laundry facilities. The campground, about one mile from the primitive campgrounds, is open annually from March 1 to the first Monday in December. It is not on the river. Reservations are not site-specific; choose any available site upon arrival. Check-in is 4 p.m.; check-out is 3 p.m. If you arrive earlier than 4 p.m., the park will accommodate you as soon as possible. You are welcome to enjoy the park until then.

Campers without a reservation, i.e., walk-ins, should make sure a site is available before submitting payment at the pay station. Visit the contact station or park office to reserve additional nights to ensure availability.

Note: You must have your reservation number(s) or confirmation letter with you at check-in. If someone else is checking in for you, make sure that person has reservation information. Be prepared to show a valid ID.

Branch Pond - Seven primitive sites in wooded area about two miles from the river (BranchPondPrimTent). Tents only. Each site has a tent pad.

Canoe Landing - Thirteen primitive sites beside the river (CanoeLandingPrimTent). Tents only. It's a short walk from vehicle parking to the campsites. These sites are to the left of the canoe launch when facing the river. No tent pads.

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.

Canoe Landing Horse Campsites (five primitive sites; CLHorsePrimCampsite) - Shaded and near Running Creek Trail. Tents and units up to 30 feet long are allowed or one rig per site. Four covered and two open stalls also may be rented. Horses must be in a stall or on a tether pole near the campsite. Only one horse is allowed per stall. No electric fencing permitted. Call 1-800-933-7275 to reserve a stall.

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.

  • All sites have electric pedestals, which have 20, 30 and 50 AMP outlets.
  • Campsites have fire-ring grills, one picnic table and a lantern hanger.
  • Full-service bathhouse with hot showers and wash sink for dishes; the bathhouse has four unisex showers, one of which is universally accessible.
  • Coin laundry facility, two washers and dryers
  • Showers are for campers only
  • All equipment must be set up within site borders. Tent pads are about 15 by 24 feet.
  • Two vehicles are allowed per campsite. A parking fee is charged for additional vehicles, which must park in designated areas. Guests visiting campers must pay a daily parking fee, park in designated areas and leave by 10 p.m.
  • A dump station is free for overnight camping guests; non-overnight guests must pay a small fee to use the dump station.
  • A boat launch is free for overnight guests.
  • The canoe livery houses the park's camp store, open seasonally. Supplies and gift items are also available at the contact station and visitor center.
  • Firewood is available for a small fee; fire starters are available at the camp store, contact station and visitor center.
  • Keep pets on a leash no longer than six feet when outside, and keep pets inside at night.

Horseshoe Campground (10 sites HorseshoeEW40ft)

Electric and water hookups; the sites are pull-through and allow two trailers to share a common area between them. There are 20 covered horse stalls and five tent pads.

  • All sites have electric pedestals, which have 20, 30 and 50-amp outlets.
  • Campsites have a fire-ring grill, one picnic table and a lantern hanger.
  • Full-service bathhouse with hot showers. The bathhouse has four unisex showers, one of which is universally accessible.
  • Showers are for camping guests only.
  • All equipment must be set up within site borders. Two vehicles are allowed per campsite. A fee is charged for additional vehicles, which must be parked in designated areas. Guests visiting campers must leave by 10 p.m.
  • A dump station is free for overnight camping guests; non-campers guests must pay a small fee to use it.
  • A boat launch is free for overnight guests.
  • The canoe livery houses the park's camp store, open seasonally. Supplies and gift items are also available at the contact station and visitor center.
  • Firewood is available for a small fee; fire starters are available at the camp store, contact station and visitor center.
  • Keep pets on a leash no longer than six feet when outside, and keep pets inside at night.
  • Groups with numbers greater than that typically allowed here must apply for a special-use permit at least three weeks before their stay.
  • Horses must be kept in a stall.
  • Rakes, wheelbarrows and buckets are available.

Total sites of each type: RedOakEW40ft, 30; CanoeLandingPrimTent, 13; BranchPondPrimTent, 7; CLGroupCampsitePrim, 1; CLHorsePrimCampsite, 5; HorseshoeEW40ft, 10.

A contact station is open Memorial Day through Labor Day and on weekends after Labor Day when weather is suitable. Otherwise, pay-station parking and camping are strictly enforced.

Camping Lodge (bunkhouse) – Two-night minimum; no full-week requirement. This two-room trailer has seven bunk beds, a refrigerator, microwave, coffeepot, deck, and heating and air conditioning. Just outside is a shelter with two picnic tables, fire ring and charcoal grill. Cooking and smoking are not permitted inside the lodge. Parking for five vehicles is covered with rental of the lodge; all other vehicles must pay the park's daily parking fee. Available only during camping season, from March 1 to the first Monday in December. This facility is not sold 11 months in advance; it goes online in January each year. Check-in is 4 p.m., and check-out is 10 a.m.

The transfer deadline policy and cancellation and pet fees are the same as those for cabins.

  • Linens and pillows are not provided.
  • Maximum occupancy is 14. Guests are responsible for any damage.
  • No bathroom, kitchen, chairs or fireplace are available in the bunkhouse.
  • No cable hookup.
  • Electrical outlets limited to 50-amp service are available.
  • No extra bed rentals.
  • It is behind the Red Oak Campground and may be rented by calling (800) 933-7275.
  • Camping lodge guests use the Red Oak Campground bathhouse, about 75 yards away.

Recreation

TRAILS

The park has 15 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, biking and bridle use. Tye River Overlook, Green Hill Pond Trail and the fishing pier are wheelchair-accessible.

Va. Outdoors sign

Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of James River's trails.

SWIMMING

There are no designated swimming areas. Holliday Lake State Park, 25 miles away, has lake swimming.

FISHING, BOATING

A canoe livery enables guests to float up to eight miles of the river. James River Outdoor Adventures rents kayaks and canoes. It also offers shuttles for those renting equipment and those bringing their own equipment The park is a hot spot for smallmouth bass fishing, and catfish, pan fish and the occasional monster musky can be caught as well. The park also has three freshwater ponds for those who prefer more sedate fishing. A valid state freshwater fishing license is required and may be purchased at the park.

Boating - This park has a car-top launch in the canoe landing area and a boat launch at Dixon Landing.

Click here to learn about the park's seasonal canoe livery service. Enjoy a trip out on the water or rent a canoe, kayak or tube.

HORSES

None, but visitors may bring their own horses to use bridle trails. See the camping section above for information about overnight horse facilities here. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a current negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.

Park Trail Guide

Click here for the park's trail guide.

Click here for its general facilities guide.

Picnic Shelters

Six picnic shelters and seven picnicking areas. Click here for park fees.

Picnic Shelters

Six shelters are available for rent. They can be rented from 8 a.m. to dark (all day). Parking fees are not included in the shelter rental. All shelters are universally accessible.

Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee that is deducted from the refund.

Amenities: All shelters except no. 6 are universally accessible and have a water hydrant, access to nearby restrooms and a large party grill (1,368 square inches). All shelters accommodate up to 75 people. Three shelters have electricity and a light.

Shelter 1: In the picnic area on the way to the canoe landing campsites. In a wooded area close to the comfort station (100 feet). Large parking lot. The shelter features an electrical outlet and lights. The park's Children's Discovery Area (a natural playground) is next to this shelter.

Shelter 2: In the picnic area on the way to the canoe landing campsites. Woods surround this shelter. It's the most secluded shelter and is about 300 feet from the comfort station. There's a small parking lot, but more parking is nearby.

Shelter 3: Near the amphitheater. It is conveniently located near Shelter 4 for larger groups. Five hundred feet from the comfort station. Large parking lot with separate driveway.

Shelter 4: Near the amphitheater and a short walk from Green Hill Pond. About 100 feet from the comfort station. Parking pull off with additional parking nearby. The shelter features an electrical outlet and lights. Near Shelter 3.

Shelter 5: Beside Green Hill Pond; offers the best view of pond and river. Near the visitor center and 400 feet from the comfort station. One hundred feet from a wheelchair accessible trail and fishing pier. Small parking lot with additional parking nearby. The shelter features an electrical outlet and lights.

Shelter 6: About 300 feet from Dixon Landing, this shelter has a great view of the river. Hillside area close to Dixon Landing boat ramp. Has pull-off parking and additional parking nearby. The comfort station is about 1,000 feet away, near Green Hill Pond.

Meeting Space and Facilities

MEETING FACILITIES

None, but the park rents family lodges that may be used for small retreats and get-togethers.

VISITOR CENTER, GIFT SHOP

The visitor center has a large aquarium, a replica bateau and information on the area's rich history. The center also houses park offices and a gift shop.

RESTAURANT

The camp store has ice, food, snacks, ice cream, soda and more. There is a country store at Bent Creek, about seven miles from the park where Routes 60 and 605 intersect. The nearest restaurants and grocery stores are in Appomattox (19 miles) and Amherst (22 miles).

LAUNDRY

The Red Oak Campground bathhouse has a coin operated laundry.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER

None at this park.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • A natural hillside amphitheater here seats about 500 and features a 25' x 30' lighted stage.
  • James River floating and fishing
  • Tye River Overlook
  • Wetland impoundment

Other Info

ACCESSIBILITY:

  • Green Hill Trail Fishing Pier (pavement and board)
  • Tye River Overlook
  • Picnic shelters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
  • Restrooms 1, 2 and 3
  • Lodges 5 and 16 and cabins 11 and 18 are wheelchair-accessible.
  • Although motorized vehicles are not permitted on park trails, electric wheelchairs and electric scooters that meet the federal definition for wheelchairs are allowed to enable people with disabilities to use the trails.

NATURE, HISTORY PROGRAMS

Programs are offered on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day and on some weekends during spring and fall by request. They include hikes, campfire programs, canoe floats, wagon rides, children's programs, crafts and more.

The park also hosts educational programs during the school year, and outreach programs are available to schools in the surrounding counties.

The park can accommodate requests for special programs. Call (434) 933-4395 or email jamesriver@dcr.virginia.gov for details.

Memorial Day weekend activities, the James River Summer Festival, Independence Day festivities, Bluegrass Under the Stars, Sky Watch Astronomy programs, Labor Day weekend fun, the annual Fall Festival and much more. Click here to view all parks' events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.

CONCESSIONS

The James River State Park Canoe Livery. Canoes, kayaks and tubes can be rented in-season at James River State Park Outdoor Adventures in the canoe landing area. The canoe livery sells camping supplies, snacks, beverages, apparel, souvenirs and more.

HISTORY

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.

FRIENDS GROUP

The Friends of James River State Park group helps the park with financial support and volunteerism. This nonprofit group enhances park programs, activities and facilities. Friends also increase the public’s awareness of the park’s educational and recreation benefits and opportunities. The group promotes the stewardship of James River State Park's natural and cultural resources. Contact Joanne Absher, 434-933-4355, for more information about the group.

MASTER PLAN

Master plans must be written for parks before they're built. The plans are updated at least once every five years thereafter. The plans cover the size, types, infrastructure and locations of facilities as well as the site's special features and resources. Three public meetings are held during the initial development of each plan. Click here for this park's master plan.

WILDLIFE

Virginia State Parks are great places to discover and reconnect with the wild world. Bring a camera and share your captures with the world. But please don't disturb or get too close to the animals. The park is, after all, their home. Here are a few recent natural encounters others have had at James River State Park.

View all wildlife encounter photos from James River State Park.

 

Upcoming Events

 
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Articles

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At a Glance

The pictographs directly below show park offerings. Mouse-over the image for a short text description or click here to view a legend in which each pictograph's meaning is expressed.
AmphitheaterBikingBoat LaunchBoat Rentals, Canoe AccessCabins, Family LodgesCamp Store/Gift ShopCampground, Camping Lodges **, Group CampingDump StationEnvironmental Education Center, Nature/Cultural ProgramsEquestrianEquestrianHikingMotor Boats PermittedParking feePicnic Shelter Rentals, Picnic TablesRestroomsShoreShowersUniversally Accessible
Amphitheater, Biking, Boat Launch, Boat Rentals, Canoe Access, Cabins, Family Lodges, Camp Store/Gift Shop, Campground, Camping Lodges **, Group Camping, Dump Station, Environmental Education Center, Nature/Cultural Programs, Equestrian, Equestrian, Hiking, Motor Boats Permitted, Parking fee, Picnic Shelter Rentals, Picnic Tables, Restrooms, Shore, Showers, Universally Accessible