Things To Do

Within and along the James River Park System, opportunities abound for strolling, whitewater rafting, paddling, fishing, tubing, hiking, mountain biking, trail-running, swimming, sunbathing, bird-watching, picnicking, rock climbing, rock-hopping, dog-walking, nature study, photography, even recreational tree climbing, snorkeling, camps, and other guided activities.

The risk is yours

Of course, as a natural area with twisty trails, rugged rocks, a raging river, and more, the park has dangers within it. Use caution while in the park. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, that you engage in these (and other) activities at your own risk.

  • Walks/Runs
  • Mountain Biking
  • Fishing
  • Canoeing and Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding and Tubing
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Swimming
  • Rock Climbing
  • Recreational Tree Climbing
  • Birding
  • Tours and Camps

BYO Picnic

There are no concessions in the park, so it’s a bring your own picnic kind of place. If you do bring food and drink with you, remember that glass containers and alcohol are prohibited, and please use the trash and recycling containers provided or pack out your trash.

Organized Activities

Many organizations, including the park system itself, hold events throughout the year in and around the park. To see the latest events, check out the JRP Calendar. See below for 2015 summer events sponsored by the park system.

JRPS Adventure Recreation Program | times vary throughout the summer

Registration is required for the below events. For questions concerning the JRPS Adventure Recreation Program or to register contact Penelope Davenport at Also, check out the JRP Calendar for direct links to registration by date.

Trail Running:

Explore the Main Area of James River Park when the warm weather's at its best: early in the morning. All fitness and ability levels are welcome for these conversation-paced trail runs. Free, Wednesdays and Fridays, 6:00-7:00 a.m. Meet at the Reedy Creek parking lot.

Salamander Salutations:

Do something good for yourself. Do something good for the park that you love. Learn some new stretches, bask in the sun, make new friends, and pick up a few pieces of trash. We're calling this young-adult event "salamander salutations" as a nod to the sun salutations that inspire us, and as tribute to the Friends' mascot, the spotted salamander that inhabits James River Park. $5 suggested donation, Tuesdays, 5:00-6:00 p.m. Meet at the Tredegar parking lot.

Friday Evening Climbs:

Geared toward young adults and the young at heart, these evenings provide top-rope climbing routes, basic instruction, and all the equipment you need in a relaxed and social atmosphere. Begins on June 26th. Pricing from $20 to $80 based on residency and number of sessions attended. Fridays, 5:00-8:00 p.m. Meet at the Manchester Climbing Wall.


Escape the heat but still bask in the sun with these leisurely floats down the James River. We'll meet at the Park Headquarters, hike upstream along the banks of the river, and then float back down through Mitchell's Gut rapids. Please bring water to drink and dress to be in the water and in the sun. Sneakers or other closed-toe shoes are required. $15 city residents; $35 non-city residents, Saturdays, June 27th - July 24th, 2:00-4:30 p.m.

Frog's Eye Tour:

Come snorkel, swim, and giggle in the water as we learn about the James River Park at the level of all our water friends. Please bring water and snacks and dress to be in the river. Sneakers or other closed-toe shoes are required. $10 city residents; $30 non-city residents, June 27th and August 15th, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Paddle and Potluck Picnic:

Canoe the flatwater stretches of the upper James River. Swim, snorkel and share delicious treats in a secret location! Please bring water and a picnic dish to share, and please let us know of any food allergies when you register. $15 city residents; $35 non-city residents, July 4th and August 22nd. Price includes canoe package rentals and a guided tour of the James.

tubing on the james

Richmond - Relaxed or Revved Up

Relaxation and rejuvenation are the environmentally friendly by-products of the muscle-powered activities available in the middle of Richmond.