It is very difficult to go out for a day on your boat if you can’t get to the water! This is the first of a series of articles helping boat owners find water access for their favorite ride. Even if you already have a favorite place to launch and load, you might want to try out a different area, or maybe meet some friends on their boat. Perhaps the fishing is smoking hot on the James River, but you keep your boat in Ashland where you are close to Lake Anna…now you can read up on some different places to launch and load. Not every location is right for every boat or boater; and a bigger site isn’t always better. So, let’s start with a pretty popular location – Deep Bottom on the James River.
Deep Bottom Park is one of our favorite locations. It is just about in the middle of the greater Richmond region, just south of the city itself. If you plan on fishing for monster blue catfish, this is an excellent place to start your trip! It is close to the I-295 bridge and Dutch Gap reach, both known as hot spots for trophy blues. The fishing can just as good within sight of the launch ramp!
The park is located just off Route 5 as you head west out of the city or get on Route 5 right off 895, the Pocahontas Parkway (toll) or using I-295. The street address for your GPS is 9599 Deep Bottom Road, Henrico, VA. Once on Route 5, follow the small brown signs for Deep Bottom. Be warned; Deep Bottom Road is narrow, unmarked and has no shoulders, with three sharp turns before arriving at the park. The road is unforgiving, and meeting another boater going the other way is always a possibility.
The park has two concrete ramps; one ramp is wide enough to accommodate two good-sized trailer rigs at a time, if folks stick close to one side or the other. The smaller ramp can handle one small rig at a time. The posted traffic pattern requires drivers to go past the ramp, and then back sharply to the right as they head down the ramp; not the easiest for a novice trailer boater. A short finger pier separates the two ramps, and a courtesy pier for loading gear and passengers is beside the larger ramp. At low tide there may not be enough water to launch or load large, heavy boats. The concrete ramp ends just a few feet past the end of the pier, but the water is deep past the end of the ramp. There is very shallow water to the west of the ramps all the way to the main river channel; don’t head that way! You can find plenty of water heading east from the ramp, staying towards the outside of the river bend.
A small parking lot for trailers is immediately to the right of the ramps, with more room in the grassy area on your right across from the restrooms. No markings there, so park with some consideration for your neighbors, leaving enough room to get your trailer out also! There is an access path to a canoe/kayak launch at the back of the parking area.
In addition to the courtesy pier, the park has picnic tables and clean restrooms, maintained by Henrico County Parks. During the boating season, the park is visited often by State Troopers and county police, making Deep Bottom a nice place to clean up after a day on the water, even for the ladies.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset every day. And, it’s all free to use!
Do you have some thoughts about Deep Bottom Park as a boat launch site? Got another favorite place to splash your ride? Leave a comment! Check out my other articles and don’t forget to subscribe to this page so you won’t miss anything!