Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this relatively new state park (dedicated in 1999) features rolling grasslands, quiet forests, and beautiful views as well as 3 miles of shoreline along the James River. Visitors often refer to the beautiful 1500-acre wildlife park as “Virginia’s best kept secret.” Whether watching American rubyspots at Dixon Landing, or enjoying the view of the wetland impoundment’s resident wading birds and waterfowl from the wheelchair accessible viewing deck, there is something for birders of all interests and abilities. Take a stroll around Green Hill Pond, one of three small ponds within the park, on the 1/4-mile wheelchair accessible trail. Search the open woods for flocks of chipping sparrows or wintering dark-eyed juncos. From there, take one of the numerous trails down along the river through a series of extensive wetlands. Search the overgrown meadows for indigo buntings and check thickets carefully for common yellowthroats and house wrens.
The wetland trail is a great area to find widow skimmer and common whitetail dragonflies, which are usually spotted as their black and white patterns shift back and forth across the path. As you wander the trails, be sure to check overhead for a migrating monarch or a majestic bald eagle, briefly joining the red-shoulder or red-tailed hawks and northern harriers overhead.
Note: To access any of the three ponds at the site, a Restore the Wild Membership, Virginia hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
Physical Address: 104 Green Hill Dr., Gladstone, VA 24553
From the Nearest Major Road:
From U.S. 60 West in Buckingham County, turn right onto Route 605/Riverside Dr. at the James River Bridge. Travel 7 miles, then turn left onto Route 606.
From the Previous Site on the James River Loop of VBWT:
From Fortune’s Cove Preserve, return to US 29/SR 56 North. Continue to the US 29/SR 56 split and continue on SR 56 southeast, crossing the James River. After crossing the river continue to Rt. 604 and turn right. Follow Rt. 604 south to Rt. 606 and turn right. Follow Rt. 606 to James River State Park.
- Site Contact: 434-933-4355; JamesRiver@dcr.virginia.gov
- Access: Park: Fee ($4.00), open sunrise to sunset daily. Ponds: Restore the Wild Membership, hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
10 Most Recent Bird Observations Added to eBird
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Great Blue Heron
- Black Vulture
- Turkey Vulture
- Red-shouldered Hawk
- Belted Kingfisher
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Downy Woodpecker
Seasonal Bird Observations
- Bike Trails
- Environmental Study Area
- Handicap Accessible
- Hiking Trails
- Interpretive Nature Program
- Interpretive Trail