Outdoor Activities

Travel & Leisure Magazine has just designated the Upper James River Trail as one of the best, easy outdoor adventures in the world. Check out their mention of Buchanan, VA!

PADDLE RACEThe Town’s rural setting provides ample opportunities for sporting enthusiast to participate in many activities such as canoeing & Kayaking on the James River, hiking, cycling and fishing.  The Town has direct access to the Upper James River Water Trail, access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, the Glenwood Horse Trail, the Spec Mine Trail for mountain bikes and Apple Orchard Falls for hikers.

The Town’s Main Street, US Route 11 coincides with the US Bicentennial Bicycle Trail. The Upper James River Blueway may be accessed off of Main Street at the Town Park on Lowe Street. The Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail and the Glenwood Horse Trail all may be accessed from Main Street by traveling on Parkway Drive while Apple Orchard Falls may be accessed by Route 614, Arcadia Road.

096The area surrounding the Town offers numerous opportunities to residents and tourists alike for hunting, fishing, horseback riding, hiking and enjoying the outdoors. Both the Jefferson and George Washington National Forest are nearby and offer many opportunities for camping, hiking and picnicking. Both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail run along the crest of the mountain and are located just 4 miles from Town.

Service Businesses

H & H Outdoors/Mt. Joy Hardware  (540) 254 – 2420;  Main Street Fishing, Hunting & Canoe Supplies www.handhoutdoors.com  We have been outfitting the Old Dominion’s outdoorsmen since 2007 with the finest firearms, bows, rods, reels and gear. Consider us your one-stop shop for all your outdoor needs whether you need fishing supplies, rods & reels, live bait, artificial bait, line, lures, hooks, River & Appalachian Trail Shuttle Service and more. Check out our dog supplies with dog food, Garmin GPS Systems, collars, name plates, kennels, dog boxes, dog leads, hunting lights and more. We also offer Livestock feed and supplies including Pride, Tracker, Huntclub, HI-Teck and Bartlett Feeds. Don’t forget to check out our hunting supplies including clothes, knives, bear, deer, turkey hunting supplies, bear, deer, turkey game check station, bows including Parker Compound and Cross Bows, arrows, broadheads, slings, carrying cases, arrow cutting and Fletching and more.  H&H Outdoors also carries Firearms including Rugers, Stag Arms, Savage, Kel-Tec, Traurus, Hi-Point, Rifles, Pistols, Shotguns, Ammunition and more.

Mt. Joy RV Sales & Service (540) 254-2360;   Mt. Joy RV specializes in affordable Travel Trailers & Fifth Wheels including Forest River, Wildwood, Heartland Prowler, Palomino Solaire Ultra-Lite, Palomino Mini’s and Forest River Vengeance Toy Hauler.

canoe shuttleTwin River Outfitters (540) 261 – 7334; 653 Lowe Street Canoe & Kayak Trips, Tubing & Shuttle www.canoevirginia.com

TWIN RIVER OUTFITTERS is a paddle sports business that rents canoes, kayaks, rafts, and river tubes. We run trips on the Upper James, Cowpasture, Jackson, and the Maury Rivers. TRO offers its customers fun and safe river trips that range from lazy river to whitewater paddling experiences with true mountain views. We offer a variety of single day and multi-day river based camping trips. Twin River Outfitters also has the historic James River House available for rent right on Main Street. We are the oldest and most experienced outfitter operating on the Upper James River and have been safely running paddle trips since 1978. We maintain the largest kayak and canoe rental fleets in this part of the state with lots of types of canoe and kayak models to choose from. We are located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia about 20 miles North of Roanoke, Virginia.

Inventory of Parks

003The Buchanan Town Park was established in 1903 by a dedicated group of volunteers known as the Village Improvement Society. The organization acquired all of the property and laid out a park consisting of playground equipment, basketball courts, tennis courts and other amenities then donated the park to the Town. Today the Buchanan Town Park consists of 7 acres featuring an outdoor basketball court, children’s playground equipment, a boat ramp maintained by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), a greenway along the James River, the Buchanan Bicentennial Gazebo, picnic tables and concession stands used for the Buchanan Community Carnival as well as other events. The site is a popular starting point and ending point for canoeing and kayaking on the Upper James River Blueway as well as fishing from its banks.

Buchanan Elementary School consists of 11 acres with one large baseball/softball field with lights. This field is enclosed with fence and contains covered dugouts with concrete floors and a scoreboard. One large soccer field with lights surrounded by 1/5 mile paved walking track. One small t-ball field with fencing, covered dugouts with concrete floors. Concession stand with restrooms and a small picnic pavilion with tables. Two batting cages, one outdoor basketball court, fitness course, playground equipment for 12 and under.

Buchanan Park is 9 acres owned by Botetourt County and located adjacent to the Buchanan Elementary School. The site consists of 9 acres with one small baseball/softball field with lights. The field is enclosed with fence and contains covered dugouts with concrete floors and a scoreboard. The site also contains one intermediate soccer field and two tennis courts with lights and a ¼ mile paved outdoor track.

James River High School consist of 32.5 acres with one large baseball/softball field with lights and dugouts. One softball field with lights and dugouts, one multi-purpose practice field with ¼ mile paved track. One football/soccer stadium with lights and irrigation system. Two batting cages, concession stand, restrooms and press box.

James River Limestone Park is owned by Mill Creek Baptist Church. The park consists of 5 acres with a Baseball/softball field, tennis court with lights, swimming pool with clubhouse and picnic shelter and is available for use by membership. For Information call (540) 254 – 2033; Main Street

Near By SitesApple Orchard Falls

Apple Orchard Falls – Apple Orchard Falls is one of Virginia’s tallest and most spectacular waterfalls. Singing streams, dancing down cascades, huge boulders, and thick stands of forest surround stunning vistas and towering bluff lines. The 7.5-mile loop trail is moderately difficult.

Apple Orchard Mountain was named for the nature of the dominant northern red oak forests on its summits and ridges. The weather is so severe on the upper elevations of the mountain that the trees have taken on a stunted appearance, as if they have been trimmed and pruned over the decades.The Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway pass within a short distance of the top of Apple Orchard Mountain.

Apple Orchard Falls is a moderately difficult, 7.5-mile hike but offers a great waterfall at the end as a reward.

Directions – The Apple Orchard Falls-Cornelius Creek loop is east of Buchanan in the Jefferson National Forest along the western side of the Blue Ridge below the Parkway. Best trailhead access is from the end of Forest Road 59 or from Sunset Field Overlook at milepost 78.7 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. To get to the FR 59 trailhead, take exit 168 off I-81 just north of Buchanan, follow Route 614 just over 3 miles through Arcadia, then turn left at the North Creek Campground sign onto FR 59. In about 4 miles, past the campground, the road will end at a trailhead. The Apple Orchard Falls Trail leads left out of here; the Cornelius Creek Trail is to the right.he Apple Orchard Falls-Cornelius Creek loop is east of Buchanan in the Jefferson National Forest along the western side of the Blue Ridge below the Parkway. Best trailhead


Spec Mine Trail –  Found at milepost 96 on Blue Ridge Parkway – This trail circles around Iron Mine Hollow and Spec Mines Branch, above the 19th-century Spec Mines, as it drops 1,300 feet in 2.8 miles to VA 645. Along the way, it passes a large pine tree the Forest Service has posted as a “designated wildlife tree,” not to be cut.

The upper end of Spec Mines Trail is on the western edge of the Blue Ridge Parkway 0.1 mile south of the Montvale Overlook, 50 yards south of milepost 96, and across the parkway from the A.T., 1.7 miles north of Black Horse Gap. The lower trailhead, south of Lithia between Buchanan and Troutville, can be reached by turning east off VA 640 onto VA 645. After 0.4 mile on VA 645, opposite the second (smaller) of two ponds, look for trail sign on right.  This is a popular trail for mountain bikers.

 Directions – This ride’s general location is 15 miles southwest of Buchanan and just south of Black Horse Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Scenery includes forest roads surrounded by dense woods and awesome views from the Blue Ridge Parkway. This loop will take you across the Blue Ridge Parkway on Old Sweet Springs Road at Black Horse Gap. Almost half of this ride follows the gravel and hard-packed, wide Glenwood Horse Trail, and the rest traverses the Blue Ridge Parkway. Be sure to yield the right of way to horses. Although there are some decent ups and downs, the 21-mile distance is the only limiting factor for less-experienced riders.

Glenwood Horse TrailGlenwood Horse Trail – Conveniently located at 3022 Pico Road, this trail is just minutes away from downtown Buchanan by way of Parkway Drive. You may also access this trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Bobletts Gap. Drop in behind the picnic table at the Bobletts Gap parking lot onto a short trail that takes you to Boblett’s Gap fireroad, also known as Chair Rock Road. Turn right, dropping down exactly 1 mile on a sometimes rocky, sometimes water-holed blast of a 5% downhill.

The singletrack is a hard right that cuts back, and straight up. Keep a close eye out, as the trail is hard to see following a left hand sweeper. Watch your odometer too, more than 1 mile exactly and you missed it. Mineshaft starts as a short, steep 25%+ gradient before reaching the shelf trail that becomes much more reasonable.

For 5 miles, enjoy a singletrack experience like no other, passing iron ore hollers with mineshafts and holes visible when you hike up the ore piles in certain crevasses of ancient Appalachian mountains.