North Bank Park is located at the south end of Texas Avenue, about five blocks east of the Hampton Street entrance to Maymont. Known to many as Texas Beach. Long, rustic trail leads to many isolated sandy beaches and sunbathing rocks. The park is very popular with dog-walkers.
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Phil Riggan – James River News Hub
Access Week! One of the first complaints most people have when discussing the James River in Richmond is that there aren’t enough access points. This is Day 3 as James River News Hub tackles the topic of access points.
The area between the Powhite Parkway and Boulevard bridges is so natural, wild and remote — yet right in the middle of the city. One can feel so free there among the honking geese and hunting osprey — only to hear an Amtrak train streaking its way across the arched railway bridge or a freight train roaring through the trees on either bank of the river.
The area around Pump House Park is the perfect spot to create a new access to the James at this beautiful and under-utilized section of the river. The north bank needs an access and this is the most central location to the James River Park and the population, as opposed to the Willey Bridge and Bosher’s Dam parcels.
The Boulevard Bridge has one of the best vantage points to get a quick glance at the James River for drivers, runners and bikers alike. But try to keep your eyes on the river and the rocks and not on the area underneath the bridge on the north bank of the river. It is dotted with an excessive amount of trash, exposed by the lack of vegetation in the winter months.
Who is up for a real clean up? It appears to be mostly trash that may have floated down the river, but judging from about 30 feet away, it could be plenty of cups, bottles and trash tossed from vehicles, which would be a complete travesty.
The south bank is much less trashed. The trails are easier to access and is patrolled a little more often. Maybe we should put in a request with www.LitterFreeRVA.com?
The James River Park System and Richmond-MORE will be conducting a trail building and maintenance class on Saturday, Oct. 23, starting at 9 a.m. The morning session of the class will be held at the Pump House. Following a short break for lunch, the class will then continue to a section of the North Bank Trail which is slated for a re-route. The afternoon session will end around 4 p.m.
The class will be taught by Nathan Burrell and Mike Burton of the James River Park System. Nathan, the JRPS trails manager, brings a wealth of knowledge to urban trail building and has lectured at the state and national level on sustainable trail building in an urban environment.
Topics covered in this class will include:
- Sustainable trail design
- Basic Construction
- Turns, drainage, and bridges
- Trail re-routes
- Trail reclamation
- Rock Work
- Mechanized trail building vs. manual trail building
- Effective use of signage
- Political environment
Mike, a principal in Long Cane Trails LLC, is a professional trail builder who just relocated to the Richmond area and is now on the staff of the James River Park System. Mike has extensive experience in urban trail building and mechanized trail building in particular. See his website for examples of his work.
There are four areas of the James River Park System that provide opportunities for long walks when you’re seeking autumn leaves in a natural setting.
Pony Pasture Rapids Park and the adjoining park, The Wetlands, are great places to walk and the views of the wild river are tough to beat. The bonus is the interior of the trails. There are many hardwoods and plenty of winding trails to satisfy your color-seeking desires. The views across the river to Williams Island and the north side of the James are colorful as well. Continue west on Riverside Drive to Riverside Meadows toward Huguenot Flatwater for a longer scenic walk.
The Main Section of the James River Park (42nd Street to some) from Boulevard Bridge to Belle Isle has one long primary trail along portions of the southern banks of the James. The hardwoods here are dominated by Sycamore, which tend to drop their leaves earlier than most, but the views across the river more than make up for the missing leaves. When the water is low, you can stroll out the thousands of granite boulders to get more points of view.
And what you’d see across the river is North Bank Park. It is much more rustic and remote than the previously mentioned properties, but the parks’ location on the north bank of the James means the sunlight is less interrupted and/or blocked by the hillsides above the parks along Westover Hills and Stratford Hills, as this is the time of year the sun is in the southern hemisphere.
You can never go wrong with a visit to Belle Isle in downtown Richmond. Just walking along the northern portion of the trail loop around the island is great, as you’d be able to see the colorful hillside of Hollywood Cemetery looming atop the banks across the river.
Caution: Watch out for mountain bikers in North Bank on the North Trail and if you choose to walk along the Buttermilk Trail in the Main Section.
The peak of fall colors for the Richmond area is usually in early November, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.
Posted in Belle Isle, James River, Main Area JRPS, North Bank Park, Pony Pasture, Richmond
Tagged Belle Isle, Buttermilk Trail, Fall Foliage, Main Area, North Bank Park, Pony Pasture, Walking
The water in the James River is low, slow, calm and clear. Bad for watering your yard, but great for exploring the river. North Bank Park is one of the best places to visit the James in late summer. The shallow waters and calm sands of Texas Beach are a great setting for an afternoon of exploring, according to a story from Phil Riggan on Richmond.com.
Last summer, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s environment beat writer Rex Springston met with JROC’s Chris Hull and others to learn about snorkeling on the James:
In late summer, when hot, rainless days leave the James running low and clear, a dip with a mask and snorkel can open up a surprisingly entertaining aquatic world. There is nothing quite like grabbing your mask and snorkel, plunging into the refreshing James River and coming face to face with a huge catfish.
James River Park sells a snorkeling-in-the-river booklet for $2. Call (804) 646-8911.