Explore the James River Pipeline in Richmond

Pipeline Parking, Richmond, Virginia, United States

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round


A truly unique urban adventure that offers scenic views of the James River and, if you're lucky, a front row seat to local paddlers surfing in the rapids.

Pipeline is a metal catwalk located on top of a giant stormwater pipe in downtown Richmond. Above the pipe runs the CSX railway line; parallel are Class IV rapids of the James River, fittingly called "Pipeline Rapids". 

From the address provided, turn right on E Byrd St, which will take you down a somewhat gravel road towards the flood wall and parking for Pipeline. Outside the wall are about seven parking spots located along a metal fence, free of charge. If these spots are taken, you may have to park inside the flood wall for a small fee. 

After parking, follow along the outside of the flood wall down the gravel path. In about a hundred yards you'll see a sign for Pipeline on your right. There is a small metal ladder that you must descend to get onto the pipe. 

As you walk along the structure there are various sandy areas you can climb down to. If you continue walking, the pipe will eventually cease to have handrails and will lead to a sandy area beside the river. At higher water levels this won't be possible. 

While you're exploring Pipeline keep an eye out for local rafters and kayakers. They'll be paddling down the rapids and might even stop at 3rd Drop to do some surfing. Birdwatchers should be on the lookout for Osprey and Blue Heron, which frequent the area.  

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Eno Hammock (if you have one)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Overall rating: 

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We love taking people here! This unique walkway has an awesome view of the James River rapids. Lots of wildlife can also be seen from here. The walkway connects to Brown's Island.

7 months ago
7 months ago

This is a really unique adventure and cool spot to hang out on a hot summer day. Lots of little sand beaches off the pipeline and during the spring this is a great spot to see all the baby herons!

10 months ago
10 months ago

Spencer Marfing

I like fish tacos, black coffee, and Snickers candy bars. Some of my favorite activities are hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, and cruising on my skateboard. I work seasonal jobs that allow me more freedom to travel. Hit me up, let's go on an adventure.

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