News Item Details

Upper James River Water Trail Receives International Recognition

December 22, 2016

Upper James River Water Trail Receives International Recognition

Travel and Leisure magazine, one of the premier travel magazines, has recognized the Upper James River Water Trail in Botetourt County as a destination for adventure travel novices. The list of destinations is specifically intended for beginning adventurers who want to experience the great outdoors without needing expert-level skill. Other excursions recognized include sailing in Fiji, hiking in Italy, and snorkeling in Antarctica, putting the James River in world-class company.

“We have always known that we have a special river here in Botetourt,” said Jack Leffel, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and neighbor to the James River. “The hard work that staff and community leaders have put into the water trail has literally put us on the global map.”

Launched in 2010 after nearly two years of concept planning, the Upper James River Water Trail was created by Botetourt County to encourage residents and visitors to experience the beauty and history of one of the County’s greatest natural treasures. The dozen public access points along the river have provided tens of thousands of visitors with opportunities for recreation, tourism, and education. Moreover, Twin River Outfitters, a full-service outfitter for the Upper James River, has expanded and diversified its offerings to help accommodate the growing demand for the water trail.

“We’re very excited for this recognition. It’s great for the County, great for the water trail, and great for Twin River. We hope it brings lots of paddling to the river,” said John Mays, Co-Owner of Twin River Outfitters.

As an enhancement to the water trail, fourteen miles of the James River from Eagle Rock to Springwood are designated as a Virginia Scenic River by the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation. Virginia Scenic River designation is only given to rivers and streams that possess outstanding scenic, recreational, historic and natural characteristics. This important designation will help protect the wild beauty of the river for generations to come.

The Board of Supervisors and staff are currently seeking the Virginia Scenic River designation for the entire length of the James River within Botetourt County from the Virginia General Assembly.

For the full list of Travel and Leisure’s vacations for adventure travel novices, please visit [sic].

For more information about the Upper James River Water Trail, please visit



For more information, contact:

Cody Sexton, Management Assistant

(540) 928-2010