Visitor Activities

James River National Wildlife Refuge no longer requires reservations to access the 1.5 mile Powell Creek nature trail. For all other uses of the Refuge, please submit a reservation four business days in advance of the proposed visit. Requests can be made at (804) 829-9020.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Out in a canoe - USFWS.

    Excellent wildlife viewing, particularly for woodpeckers, osprey, and great blue herons, is available from the limited trail system and expansive waters surrounding the refuge. The meandering trail passes through or along freshwater marshes, tidally influenced creeks, mature hardwood forest, and remnant pine plantation. The trail is dotted with informational and interpretive signs, observation platforms, and a canoe/kayak launch. To view the Powell Creek trail map click here.

    Please remember to keep a safe distance from wildlife as to not disturb them from their natural routines. Feeding of wildlife is strictly prohibited.

  • Photography

    Photographers by K. Newman

    The refuge’s forested riparian habitat along Powell Creek is used by bald eagles and osprey for nesting and perching. The tall trees extend prominently at water’s edge and allow for excellent photographic opportunity. The birds are easily flushed, therefore zoom cameras are recommended. Osprey typically migrate in late summer and return in early spring.

    On the refuge, nature photographers can capture shots of the tranquil landscapes of the property. In addition to birds, the patient observer can take pictures of a variety of flowers, mammals, amphibians, and invertebrates.

  • Hunting

    Hunter with deer - USFWS.

    Deer hunting on designated areas of the refuge is offered on each Saturday of the deer season (Oct. 2, 2021- Jan.1, 2022) and on Youth/Apprentice days (Sept 25, 2021 & April 2, 2022). All participants must enroll in RecAccess and make a reservation for each individual hunt. Persons are to register within 48 hours of each hunt date. Capacity thresholds are in place. Slots are provided on a first come/first serve basis. See regulations and additional details.

    SCOUT DATES: Sept. 18, 19, & Oct. 24, 2021.

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  • Interpretation

    Interpretive panel - USFWS.

    The refuge offers occasional opportunities for the public to visit and be guided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and their partners. Canoe tours are scheduled in the spring and fall (pre-registration required). These tours interpret the rich history of the refuge and highlight the diverse wildlife of this unique environment. Additionally, the Great Backyard Bird Count in February allows participants to search for a variety of birds. Led by a local naturalist, avian identification tips and techniques are offered.

  • Environmental Education

    Boyscouts - USFWS.

    The refuge offers only limited opportunity for environmental education. Interested schools or organizations can request use of the facilities and trails by contacting the refuge office.