Howardsville Boat Landing

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWTBefore heading out to visit a site on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail, be sure to check if that site has any COVID-19 policies or closures in place. This information is typically posted on a site's own website.


The boat landing at Howardsville not only provides access to the James River for birding and viewing wildlife on the water, it also supports an exciting patch of woodland virtually teeming with birds. Upon arrival, check the river for roosting herons, egrets and waterfowl. Wood ducks are likely to show up year-round, while hooded and common mergansers, common goldeneye and other diving ducks could appear in the winter months, depending on how iced-up the river is. The small creek that opens into the James, just upstream from the boat landing, is a good spot to search for eastern phoebes.

The boat landing area is usually alive with American crows and their typical antics, occasionally joined by the bigger and hoarser common raven. Check the larger trees around the boat landing for red-bellied woodpeckers, and in winter, yellow-bellied sapsuckers. in addition to their inherent grandeur, these trees are worth giving particular attention to during migration when scarlet tanagers, American redstarts and a variety of other neotropical migrants stop in to join the resident northern cardinals and Carolina chickadees.

With its location on the water, the area is also worth searching for dragon- and damselflies such as American rubyspots and eastern amberwings. Also check for butterflies such as pearl crescent, red-spotted purple and the confusingly similar question mark and eastern comma.

Note: Yield use of this site to those launching boats.


From Previous Site on James River Loop of VBWT:

From James River Wildlife Management Area, return to Rt. 626/Howardsville Rd and turn right. Follow Rt. 626 for 7.0 miles to Howardsville. Turn right on Rt. 602/Howardsville Turnpike and proceed 0.1 miles to the boat landing.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Parking
  • Boat Ramp