James River and Kanawha Canal Visitor Center Blue Ridge Parkway

James River Virginia

James River Visitor Center and Kanawha Canal
Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 63.7

The James River and the Kanawha Canal ran through this area and was in operation until the 1870s. The James River and Kanawha Canal connected coastal Virginia to the Ohio River. George Washington had been looking for and east to west transportation system and was also the honorary President of the canal company in charge of the project. The canal stretched 196 miles from Richmond to Lynchburg and another 30 miles after the visitor center site to Buchanan Virginia. In 1851 the canal project was halted due to the increase in the railroads connecting major cities.

James River Visitor Center Blue Ridge Parkway

Visitor Center

The James River Visitor Center have exhibits of the canal and display the entire story. There are two trails at the James River Visitor Center. The James River Canal Trail leads you to the remaining locks of the Kanawha Canal. The Trail of Trees is a nature educational trail loop about the local types of trees growing in the area. The visitor center is a great place to stop use the restrooms, and have a snack at the on-site picnic tables with views of the James River.

Hiking Trails

  • James River Canal Trail
  • The Trail of Trees