Monday, October 6, 2008

James River at Glen Wilton - October 2008

A narrow dirt track beneath the Route 622 bridge near Glen Wilton, Virginia provides primitive carry-down access to the James River. This section of river offers about 1/2 mile of flatwater for the paddler between two Class I rapids.

I arrived on a Monday afternoon after a 35 minute drive from my southern Shenandoah Valley home for a short 30 minute paddle on this section. Access to the water is down a relatively steep, but short, bank; it was easy enough to slide my boat down the hill and into the water.

This is a nice stretch of water for a local paddler, but it's a bit short for anyone else, and the location is probably used mostly as a put-in or take-out spot for James River trippers.

This particular stretch of the river is straight as an arrow and bisected by the Route 622 bridge. But the water is deep enough to accommodate my 14' Heritage, which I used today on the river. Scenery is rather sparse on this section of the James with no mountains or rock outcrops to peruse.

It takes only about 5-10 minutes to paddle from one rapid to the next, in either direction. I suspect that when water levels are a foot higher, it would be possible to power through the upstream rapid. Today, though, there is a good 6-10" drop that requires a portage. The same is true for the first downstream rapid.

This part of the James would provide a good 30 or 45 minute workout for a local paddler who is content to paddle back and forth between the rapids. View this location in Google Maps by clicking here.

3 comments:

Jay Heath said...

Steve, I have been enjoying your most recent cruises on the blog: excellent photos, interesting narrative, an opportunity to vicariously experience the waters of the James River area.

Mark Bolt said...

Steve-
Great write up for a newbie like me heading to the Upper James this weekend (3-29-14). Question: Any idea if the boat access is still available at the property on Bridge Rd./Rt. 622 @ Glen Wilton? I have been researching put outs for a float from Iron Gate and saw this spot on a map, called a few outfitters down there, but some say the property recently sold and the new owner may/not be open to folks on his property. Is their access on the other side of that bridge? Thanks!

Steve Hildreth said...

Hey Mark,

I haven't been back to that spot since I originally posted the article, so I'd side with the outfitters in this case. There wasn't access on the other side of the bridge from what I can recall.