Guided Boating Trips

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Guided Kayak Trips

Kayak James River 08 3

Guided kayak trips with the Outdoors Program provide participants with an excellent opportunity to paddle in style, explore unique river features and travel independently. Most of all the trips are so much fun.

The fleet of recreational sit a top kayaks are very stable and relatively easy to paddle. The added comfort of an adjustable backrest and padded seat will make the day out on the water even that more enjoyable.


  • Journey on the James: 6.5 miles on fast moving water from Buchanan to Arcadia. This trip is a full day.
  • Sunset Paddle: Three hour trip on the flat and moving waters below Radford. Evenings along the river provide an excellent opportunity for viewing a wide range of wildlife.
  • New River Adventure: 10 miles on class I and II rapids. This trip is a full day.

There are two styles of sit a top kayaks to choose from:   

The solo, or one person version, allows independent paddling while enjoying the sights and sounds of the water. Kayak James River 08 1
The tandem, or two person version, allows the enjoyment of the experience with a partner. Paddling with another person is also a great way to build teamwork and cooperation. Tandem kayaks can also be used if having a guide in the kayak is preferred. Kayak James River 08 2

Guided Canoe Trips

Guided Canoe Trips

A guided canoe trip with the Outdoors Program is a relaxing way to enjoy the many sights and sounds of the New River. The trips are tailored to highlight the many different aspects of the New River Valley. From the peace and tranquility of the Scenic Canoe Tour to the fast pace class II and III rapids on the Adventure Section, participants are sure to find a trip that fills their canoeing interest.


  • Scenic Tour of the New River: 10 miles on class I and II rapids from Eggleston to Pembroke. This trip is a full day.
  • Fall Foliage Float: 6.5 miles on fast moving water from Buchanan to Arcadia. This trip is a full day.
  • Adventure: 11 miles on class I –III rapids of the New River from Pembroke to Bluff City. This trip is a full day.

No experience is needed to participate in our guided boating trips as our guides will provide you with the basics of paddling in a brief instructional session before the start of your trip. Additional instruction is also provided throughout the trip by our expert guides to enhance time on the water. Our trips are the perfect avenue for an introduction to a healthy sport that can last a lifetime.

All guided boating trips with the Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Outdoors Program include:

  • On land and on water instruction by expert guides
  • Personal flotation devices and other safety gear 
  • Small dry bags to put your lunch and other small items in
  • Well maintained boats and paddles
  • Transportation to and from the water
  • Personal attention before and during your trip

Preparing For A Guided Paddling Trip


Kayak James River 08 4Guided trips will usually operate rain or shine in late spring, summer and early fall, so it is important to dress for success on the river. Shorts, swimsuits and t-shirts are appropriate to wear on warm summer days; however an additional layer should be brought just in case and rain gear is always good to have on hand.

During the cool spring and fall avoid wearing cotton clothing such a sweatshirts and blue jeans. Cotton clothing will actually make you colder as it will hold cold water next to your skin. Synthetic fabrics like fleece, polyester, wool and other manmade materials along with rain gear and windbreakers are a better option. Extra layers are a must during the spring and fall months.


There is simply no way around it, your feet are going to get wet when getting in and out of the boat. Your feet will also need protection from sharp rocks during the entire length of the trip, so wear something that will be comfortable. A specific water sandal, water shoe, or an old pair of sneakers are a fine choice.

Additional Items

  • Lunch & snack and one liter of drinking water and other beverage of your choice, (no glass containers or alcohol)
  • Brimmed hat, sun block, sunglasses with strap
  • Extra set of dry clothes and towel for after the trip

For more information, contact the Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Department at 540-443-1100.

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