Just bought a packraft and joined APA after years of canoeing and SUP, and wanted to share with the community the urban pack rafting available in Richmond, VA.
We’ve got about a 5 mile stretch of river inside the city limits, starting out with gentle class 2s, then growing to a couple Class 3s and a 4. This is all bounded by mountain biking trails on both sides of the river, and the class 4 rapid adjoins an island accessible only by foot trails. This terrain opens up a host of opportunities, that make for a full day of self powered outdoor sports without ever setting foot in a car.
My favorites are i) to mountain bike the trails, then hike upriver, paddle down, and hop back on the bike, or ii) bike the roads on a folding bike, take the bike downriver, and bike back home. (Haven’t yet ventured to run Class 3-4 with a big mountain bike lashed on front). The urban environment is kind of cool – you can see office towers from most of the big rapids, but that doesn’t keep the bald eagles and other wildlife away. Saw an osprey catch a fish last night. Plus when you finish paddling you are a five minute ride to tons of brew pubs and restaurants.
We’ve got a great kayaking and rafting scene but not many other packrafters. I’ve heard there are a few but not yet seen them out. If anyone’s nearby, come visit.