The Staunton River starts its life as the Roanoke River in the hills southwest of Roanoke. From there, it meanders its way east, slowing briefly to form Smith Mountain Lake. As it flows into Southside Virginia, the Staunton River regains its name and flows though some of the prettiest, and least spoiled land in the Piedmont. Along its route are numerous small parks and convenient boat landings that facilitate canoe access to the river. This great river has played its part in Virginia’s history, providing inspiring views to Patrick Henry from his home in Red Hill, and providing a barrier for Union and Confederate soldiers to clash over at the Staunton River Battlefield. Throughout its course, the river hosts wildlife in profusion. Great blue herons can be found stalking its banks, as wood ducks raise their ducklings and bald eagles patrol the skies. Stand and listen as the ghosts of yesterday meld into the bird songs of a bright morning.