Traversing central Virginia, the Rockfish River is a 28.7-mile-long tributary of the James River, via which it is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The confluence of the North and South Forks in Nelson County forms the Rockfish River. Flowing southeastwardly, its lower course defines the boundary between Nelson and Albemarle counties.
Rockfish River Loop Trail
The Rockfish River Loop Trail, recognized as part of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, allows visitors access to protected land from which to take in the serene beauty of the Rockfish. Public access is provided to the Rockfish’s South Fork and to Reid’s Creek via a network of trails.
These natural-surface trails are open for hiking and bird watching. Altogether there are six miles of trails in loops of various lengths so that visitors can enjoy the peaceful Rockfish whether they have just an hour or a whole day to spare.
Canoeing the Rockfish
The Rockfish is the ideal river for a peaceful, easy canoe trip in central Virginia. No more than class II before Schuyler, the Rockfish is perfect for trips with the family on lazy summer afternoons.
Because the Rockfish is fairly small, travelers are provided intimate views of all the grasses, flowers, and trees along the way, and are unlikely to encounter too many other visitors. Its close proximity to Charlottesville makes the river immensely convenient for day trips.
Rockfish River Depot
Ideal for bird watching, Rockfish River Road follows the northern part of the Rockfish River between Howardsville and US 29. Bird and wildlife watchers are provided ample opportunities to stop and scan the deciduous forest on the banks of the Rockfish as well as the river itself.
In the summer, Canada geese and wood duck are plentiful while a trip in the winter months may allow watchers to catch glimpses of hooded merganser. Red-shouldered and red-tailed hawks make their homes near the Rockfish, and occasionally an osprey or bald eagle can be seen.
The Rockfish River’s railway bridge is oftentimes the nesting site of great-horned owls.