Virginia’s 33 Scenic Rivers

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Jun 12, 2015 | Updated: Jun 9, 2016

Comments: 12 Comments

Certain stretches of river are incredibly beautiful and some are even protected ecosystems. Since 1970, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has celebrated these waterways through the Virginia Scenic Rivers Program. The process to recognize sections of river as “scenic” begins as a grassroots effort, but there’s no doubt that residents and visitors alike treasure the recreation and scenery these streams provide.

Since 1970, 815 miles of river have received the Virginia Scenic River designation. There are 33 segments, with 38.6 miles of the Dan River in Halifax being the most recent addition to the list (2015).

The rivers are in order below based on the year it was designated (oldest to most recent), and do see the map below for assistance in locating a river. You may have to zoom in as a few pins overlap each other.

Paddle, float, fish and photograph your way along Virginia’s Scenic Rivers.

 

— VIRGINIA SCENIC RIVERS —

 

HISTORIC FALLS OF THE JAMES

 

The James River and downtown Richmond skyline.

The James River and downtown Richmond skyline, a Virginia Scenic River.

RIVANNA RIVER

 

STAUNTON RIVER

 

GOOSE CREEK

 

APPOMATTOX RIVER

 

City Point, Hopewell

City Point in Hopewell is where the Appomattox meets the James River. This is also where the Virginia Scenic River designation ends for the Appomattox River.

CATOCTIN CREEK

 

NOTTOWAY RIVER

  • Designated in 1979 and extended in 1992 and 2011
  • From the Route 40 bridge over Stony Creek in Stony Creek to the confluence with Blackwater River on the Virginia-North Carolina border (72.5 miles)

 

ST. MARY’S RIVER

  • Designated in 1979
  • From the headwaters in Augusta County just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Route 162, past St. Mary’s Wilderness to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest boundary (6 miles)

 

SHENANDOAH RIVER

  • Designated in 1979 and extended in 1992
  • From the Virginia-West Virginia border to the Clarke-Warren County line (21.6 miles)
  • Related: Watermelon Park Campground

 

UPPER JAMES RIVER

 

Buchanan Swinging Bridge

The Upper James Virginia Scenic River ends a few miles upstream from the Buchanan Swinging Bridge.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER

 

Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg

Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg

LOWER HISTORIC JAMES RIVER

 

Historic Jamestown Island

As you look toward this sun from this Cameron Davidson aerial shot, you’re taking in Jamestown Island, Historic Jamestowne, and Colonial Parkway bridging south from Jamestown Settlement. The water beyond is the Lower Historic James River, a Virginia Scenic River.

MOORMANS RIVER

  • Designated in 1988
  • From the Charlottesville Reservoir in Crozet to the confluence with Mechums River in Charlottesville (14 miles)

 

NORTH LANDING RIVER

 

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER

  • Designated in 1990
  • From Route 360 in Mechanicsville to the Hanover-Henrico-New Kent County line around Quinton on Route 613 (10.2 miles)

 

GUEST RIVER

 

ROCKFISH RIVER

  • Designated in 1990
  • From Route 639 in Schuyler to the confluence with the James River in Howardsville (9.75 miles)

 

BIG CEDAR CREEK

 

Fishing at Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve, Big Cedar Creek

Fishing at Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve, Big Cedar Creek

CLINCH RIVER

  • Designated in 1992 and extended in 1994
  • From the confluence with Little River in Honaker to Route 645 in Cleveland (20 miles)
  • NOTE: Big Cedar Creek is included as a confluence in this segment.

 

NORTH MEHERRIN RIVER

  • Designated in 1997
  • From Route 712 bridge in Victoria to the confluence with the South Meherrin River in South Hill (7.5 miles)

 

CLINCH RIVER

 

MEHERRIN RIVER

 

NORTH MAYO RIVER

 

SOUTH MAYO RIVER

  • Designated in 2008
  • From the Patrick-Henry County at the confluence of Green Creek to the Virginia-North Carolina border in Ridgeway (6.9 miles)
  • Related: Three Rivers Outfitters

 

BLACKWATER RIVER

  • Designated in 2010
  • From Proctors Bridge at Route 621 in Ivor to the confluence with the Nottoway River at the Virginia-North Carolina border in Suffolk (56 miles)

 

HUGHES RIVER

 

JORDAN RIVER

  • Designated in 2010
  • From Route 522 bridge at Flint Hill to the confluence with Rappahannock River (7 miles)

 

RUSSELL FORK RIVER

 

Russell Fork River cuts through Breaks Interstate Park

Russell Fork River cuts through Breaks Interstate Park

BANISTER RIVER

  • Designated in 2013 and extended in 2014
  • From Rawley White Martin Memorial Bridge on Route 29 in Chatham to the confluence with Dan River in South Boston (63.3 miles)

 

DAN RIVER

  • Designated in 2013
  • From Route 880 at Berry Hill Road in Cascade on the Virginia-North Carolina border to Abreu-Grogan Park in Danville (15 miles)

 

Scenes Along the Dan River in Danville

Scenes Along the Dan River in Danville

CRANES NEST RIVER

  • Designated in 2014
  • From Route 637 in Coeburn to John W. Flannagan Reservoir launch ramp in Clintwood (10.7 miles)

 

TYE RIVER

  • Designated in 2014
  • From Route 739 in Arrington to the confluence with the James River at Norwood (12.7 miles)

 

DAN RIVER

 

— RESOURCES —

Virginia’s Scenic Rivers Program brochure

Scenic Rivers Map and List of Desirable Rivers

Virginia’s Rivers

Virginia Outfitters

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12 Comments

Helen Jones says:

I was looking forward to seeing photos of Mechum River. I use to swim in the river as a child just wonderful memories. Beautiful photos of Virginia. ..