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Smith Bridge – Jackson River Float Trip


Elevation: 1368 ft.

The stretch of the river at Smith Bridge has a magical feel as it passes between various stages of forest growth from open grass fields to massive ancient sycamores and yellow poplars. The river along this stretch provides homes to water birds such as great blue and green herons, wood duck, and belted kingfisher. Eastern painted turtles populate the fallen logs emerging from the water, while bullfrogs boom from both banks. The edges of the Jackson River are a good area to search for dragon- and damselflies. Dragonflies, such as widow and slaty skimmers, eastern amberwing, common whitetail, common green darner, and damselflies, such as ebony jewelwing, powdered dancer and several bluets and forktails, could occur. A paved path leads to an accessible platform for fishing and viewing the river.


  • The US Army Corps of Engineers releases water from Gathright Dam on a regular basis, but also as needed. Check the COE’s website before heading out.


Physical Address: 588 N Smith Bridge Rd, Hot Springs, VA 24445

From Covington, head north on US-220/Hot Springs Rd, turn left onto VA-687/Jackson River Rd, turn right onto SR-721/N Smith Bridge Rd, turn right onto S Smith Bridge Rd, and follow it to the parking area.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: (540) 962-2214
  • Website
  • Access: Free, Daily

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Accessible
  • Parking
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch
  • Observation Platform