Belle Isle, James River Park System

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.

Description

Belle Isle is accessible by a suspended pedestrian and bicycle walkway across the James River. Belle Isle was once the former site of a Powhatan Indian encampment, but also served other purposes, such as Civil War prison, colonial era racetrack, and as the site for 19th century iron and steel plants. Belle Isle offers a unique combination of habitats including open fields, dense woodlands, cliffs, a pond, and views of Hollywood Rapids, which are part of the seven miles of rapids that make up the Fall Line. Good birding may be had here all year, with the best opportunities during migrations. In winter, look for waterfowl, including bufflehead and red-breasted merganser. In summer, look for breeding osprey and songbirds.

Contacts:

  • Friends of the James River Park – email: friends@jamesriverpark.org
  • City of Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities –  804-646-5733, AskParkRec@richmondgov.com

Directions

Physical Address: 300 Tredegar St., Richmond, VA 23219

From I-95 North, take Exit #74-C/US 250/Broad Street. Turn west on US 250/Broad Street and continue 0.5 miles to 5th Street. Turn left and take 5th Street south 0.6 miles to Tredeger Street. Turn right and continue 0.3 miles to the parking lot under the railroad trestle. Follow the walkway along Tredegar Street towards the Dominion Energy building. The suspension footbridge that crosses the river and provides access to Belle Isle is located under the Robert E. Lee Bridge.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: See Site Description
  • Website
  • Access: Free, Daily

Birds Recently Seen at Belle Isle, James River Park System (as reported to eBird)

  • Canada Goose
  • Mallard
  • Common Merganser
  • Mourning Dove
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Osprey
  • Fish Crow

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Bike Trails
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Historical Site