Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

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  • Seasons: All
  • Site Contact: See site description.
  • Site Access: Free, Daily
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Other Trails Nearby

Site CRI10: Belle Isle, James River Park System


Belle Isle is accessible by a suspended pedestrian and bicycle walkway across the James River. Belle Isle was once the former site of a Powhatan Indian encampment, but also served other purposes, such as Civil War prison, colonial era racetrack, and as the site for 19th century iron and steel plants. Belle Isle offers a unique combination of habitats including open fields, dense woodlands, cliffs, a pond, and views of Hollywood Rapids, which are part of the seven miles of rapids that make up the Fall Line. Good birding may be had here all year, with the best opportunities during migrations. In winter, look for waterfowl, including bufflehead and red-breasted merganser. In summer, look for breeding osprey and songbirds. Contact: Friends of the James River Park, email:, City of Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities: 804-646-5733, email:


From the Richmond Battlefield National Park at Drewys Bluff, return to I-95 North and follow it to Exit #74-C/US 250/Broad Street. Turn west on US 250/Broad Street and continue 0.5 miles to 5th Street. Turn left and take 5th Street south 0.6 miles to Tredeger Street. Turn right and continue 0.3 miles to the parking lot under the railroad trestle. Follow the walkway towards the Dominion Resources Corporation building. The suspension footbridge that crosses the river and provides access to Belle Isle is located under the Robert E. Lee Bridge.

Loop Map