Virginia’s Rails to Trails

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Sep 14, 2012 | Updated: Apr 16, 2018

Comments: 2 Comments

From rugged mountainous terrain to calm coastal flatlands, Virginia has no shortage of cycling options with amazing scenery.

For a less physical way to bike and enjoy the fall foliage, check out one of Virginia’s rails-to-trails routes where old railroad grades have been converted into multi-use recreation trails that are perfect for scenic, peaceful pedaling.

Virginia Creeper Trail. Image by

Virginia Creeper Trail. Image by

The Tobacco Heritage Trail is an ambitious project that will eventually be more than 170 miles long and encompass six counties. Completed sections of the trail can be accessed in La Crosse, Brodnax and Lawrenceville. The portion of the trail to connect these three towns is currently under construction. In Victoria two miles of the trail is complete.

Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail meanders through the countryside in Nelson and Amherst counties in Central Virginia, affording views of rolling hills and farms as well as the river, where little evidence of civilization meets the eye.

Perhaps Virginia’s most well-known rails-to-trails effort is the Virginia Creeper Trail in the southwest. It’s 34 miles of varying climates thanks to the mountainous altitude. Bike rentals and shuttle service are available along the way in Abingdon, Damascus and Whitetop.

Guest River Gorge Trail in Southwest Virginia follows an old railroad right of way paralleling the Guest River, a Virginia Scenic River. Millions of years ago the Guest River eroded a passage through Stone Mountain on its way to join the Clinch River. Cutting through massive rock, it opened a deep rock corridor that is a scenic wonder. Other sights along the trail include an old railroad tunnel, bridges using the remaining railroad trestles, waterfalls and rock outcroppings.

High Bridge Trail State Park

High Bridge Trail State Park

High Bridge Trail State Park  is a multi-use trail ideally suited for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Its centerpiece is the majestic High Bridge, which is more than 2,400 feet long and 160 feet above the Appomattox River.

More trails for a great fall excursion:


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Avatar Sherrie Mercurio says:

would love to know where I get the picture of the mountains you are using on the background of this website please. we only get to see a small glimpse while the page loads. thanks

Avatar Casey says:

Hi Sherrie,
That image was from the aerial photo shoot for our 2010 Travel Guide recognizing the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which you can see an image of here:
Casey Higgins