Whitewater rafting through downtown Richmond

Destination Vacation

Richmond, Va. (WRIC) — There is so much to discover throughout downtown Richmond, whether it’s the incredible history, amazing food or even whitewater rafting.

Richmond is the only city in the entire country where you can take on Class IV rapids right through downtown! 

Typically when you want to plan these sorts of adventures, you have to go to some far-off remote location or you have to plan the trip days in advance. But right here in Richmond, you can do this right after work and after you’re done on the river you can go grab a bite to eat. 

The James River runs through the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, carving a path right through downtown Richmond. 

The city happens to sit right on what’s called a ‘fall line’ where the elevation drops 105 feet over the course of seven miles.  

Matt Perry with Riverside Outfitters says thanks to this geological feature, Richmond has anywhere from Class I to Class V rapids! 

“That’s some pretty big whitewater and something you’d typically would never see outside of a mountain setting,” said Perry. 

So they took 8News out to go conquer the river. 

When you hit the rapids you forget you’re in the middle of a metropolitan area, as you’re fighting to stay inside the raft. But in the periods between the rush, the scenery around the banks of the James takes your breath away. 

River guides like Caleb Young hope these trips reinforce a love for adventure and nature. 

“It’s grassroots environmental education, you get people to care for the environment and then they’re much more likely to protect it,” Young told 8News.

RiversideOutfitters offers trips that last anywhere from three to four hours and you encounter a good number of whitecaps! 

Amanda Cole, who was visiting the River City from Dallas, Texas said she was having a lot of fun on the James.

“I’ve gone whitewater rafting in Colorado … it was a smaller river, it was a lot smaller. This is really big,” Cole said.

“We were trying to come up with a bunch of things to do in Richmond to give you a good feel,” Richmond resident Nathan Kane said.

Whitewater rafting on the James is something uniquely Richmond. You won’t experience it anywhere else in the country. 

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