New River Trail State Park

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

Southern Virginia's New River Trail is one of America's premier rail-trails and has been designated as an official National Recreation Trail by the US Department of the Interior. It is also a state park. The highlight and namesake of this magnificent trail is the 36-mile section running through Grayson, Carroll, Wythe and Pulaski counties along the New River, the oldest river in the States. In 1986 the Norfolk Southern Railroad donated this old railroad corridor, which originally served to supply the once expanding iron industry to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

If you travel from Galax or Fries and head north, the mileage markers count down beginning at the 57-mile marker. Also, much of the trail is downhill from south to north. If you start from Pulaski (Dora Junction), the first 3 miles are uphill, though most won't find it a burdensome climb. A mile or so before Draper it's downhill to the Hiawassee trestle at the river. This 5-mile section also features numerous trestles, while offering a look into mountain railroading, since the tracks climbed away from the river to reach the mainline at Pulaski.

The Galax trailhead, which features an old red caboose, has plenty of parking. From here, you follow Chestnut Creek along the 12-mile Galax to Fries Junction section. The creek affords rugged scenery from the narrow valley it craved on its way to the river. At mile marker 38, you'll encounter the beautiful Fries Junction trestle bridge crossing the New River. Just across the bridge, you have the option of taking a pleasant excursion to Fries, a 12-mile roundtrip. This 6-mile spur is included in the trail's 57-mile total length.

The remaining 39 miles proceeds north (downgrade with the river) along the peacefully flowing New River as it runs through Cripple Creek Junction, Foster Falls and Allisonia. The trail is isolated for much of this journey, so if you are on this stretch, be sure to carry all necessary supplies in case of an emergency or quick bike repair.

Along the way, you'll see many railroading highlights, including cavernous tunnels, steep dams, the historical Shot Tower and trestle bridges (you'll marvel at the impressive 950-foot Hiawassee trestle around mile marker 8). Both termini (Galax and Pulaski) have all your post-trail amenities.

Parking and Trail Access

To the Galax trailhead, take Interstate 77 to the US 221/US 58 Exit (Exit 14) toward Hillsville/Galax. The trailhead is located on the right, where Route 58 crosses Chestnut Creek.

To reach the Dora Junction trailhead in Pulaski from Interstate 81, take VA Route 99 west for 2 miles toward Xaloy. Turn right on Xaloy Way and look for the trailhead on the right.

You can also access the trail in Fries: Take Interstate 77 to the US 221/US 58 Exit (Exit 14) toward Hillsville/Galax. Turn right at Cliffview Road/VA Route 721 to Fries. Route 721 becomes Fries Road before crossing the New River. As you come into town, turn left on Dalton Road. The trailhead is at the bottom of the hill; the trail signs are impossible to miss. Parking is available near the town park on Riverview Ave.

Reviews

horse issue

   July, 2014 by rick.banks.184

Over the July fourth weekend my wife and I rode from Foster Falls to Bylsby dam. The section of trail from Austinville to Bylsby dam is in the worst condidtion that I have ever see it and I've been riding this trail to the tune of about 12,000 miles over ...read more

Sharing a trail is not easy

   June, 2014 by baldsexy

If one is running, it seems to infuriate some of those in cars. Not everyone. If one is kayaking, it seems to infuriate some of those riding jet skis or powerboats. Not all of them. If one is cross county skiing, it seems to infuriate some of those on ...read more

Horse people need places to ride too!

   June, 2014 by mesa2000

I don't agree with some folks that horses shouldn't be allowed on this trail. I would much prefer that there be 'horse only' trails but sadly there are not many trails like that. I don't know what it is about a horse and a bike but most of the time they ...read more