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Explore the best rated trails in Laurel, VA. Whether you're looking for an easy walking trail or a bike trail like the Mary Washington Hospital Trail and Rappahannock River Heritage Trail. With more than 12 trails covering 114 miles you're bound to find a perfect trail for you. Click on any trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
Trail is gravel the whole way. No 2 lane dirt road. There are no service areas at all. Great bike shop that helped me with my flat. The bridge is scenic. The rest is not. Pretty flat and no significant hills. Stayed at an old hotel that had a rooftop bar. Farmington is a cool town.
Great surface and nicely maintained
No bikes or horses allowed, roots would make wheelchair mostly impossible
Approx 3/4 of the trail has views of the lake, beautiful sunset views! Way too many roots for a wheelchair.
As others have said - variable surface, smooth to pretty rough. I rode 12+12 from the west end on a bike w/ 40 mm tires, but no suspension. If you have a bike w/ suspension (at least on front), use it.
And within the first 1/2 mile the path crosses the tracks (and the surface changes from smooth bluestone to sloped loose gravel) - that caught me by surprise.
This trail pretty for walking and would be okay on a fat-tire bike with front shocks, but its surface is not for medium or narrow tires. It was a disappointment on my recumbent trike--crawling along on dirt, gravel, exposed railroad ties, and worse. I only rode 3 miles before turning around. However in that short space, I twice had to get off and walk over rails or narrow duckboards.
I rode over the bridge part And about half the other part of the trail. Trying to get up for a Whole weekend to ride the rest
Tree covered trail extremely easy to manipulate.l
Nice shaded trail starting from the elementary school with bridges going over marshes, and creeks. Not lots of people, but set between some subdivisions. There were a few benches to sit on before getting to the meadow.
I rode this trail on 5/11 and 5/12, 2022. I'd divide it into roughly three sections - west, from almost-Pamplin to Tuggle, central, from Tuggle to the eastern cutoff to the Spur Line Trail a bit east of the bridge, and eastern, from that point to the eastern terminus.
The Central section (4.5/5) is by far the most interesting. Tuggle to Farmville is relatively scenic. Farmville to the High Bridge is decently scenic. The High Bridge is impressive; yes, it's "just trees", but you are above them, can see 20 miles, watch the crows and other birds flying above the tree or landing on the bridge, relax with a great view, and see the Appomattox from a great height. In my opinion, the Bridge itself delivered on what was promised online, and at nearly half a mile long, it's probably the longest bridge I've biked across, and quite possibly the longest as well.
Then, you can then lock your bike to one of the racks east of the trail, and take the Camp Paradise and/or Spur Line Trails. If you only have time for one, take the Camp Paradise. Not so much for Camp Paradise itself - a Confederate camp meant to guard the bridge; you can still see the earthworks, but it's not particularly impressive. Instead, take that trail because it takes you below the High Bridge. This gives you another perspective on just how impressive the bridge is, particularly for being originally built in the mid-1850s, lets you see more of its construction, and shows why it was strategically important. Hike back up the southern side of Camp Paradise to get a hint of what it may have been like to move an entire army, carrying packs with supplies as well as rifles, up from crossing the Appomattox without the bridge. It was much easier for the Union to catch the Army of Northern Virginia with the bridge still relatively intact!
The base of the bridge by Camp Paradise also happens to be a butterfly hangout.
The Spur Line Trail is a nice hike through the woods, though the promised overlook is fairly obscured. Still, it's a nice break from the relative visual sameness of most of the trail.
The Rochelle Area mountain bike trails are also in the eastern section; I didn't have enough time to try them out.
The Eastern part of the High Bridge Trail (4/5) is, as another reviewer mentioned, a "zen trail". If you've had a stressful week and just want to get away from it for a while and pedal, without having to think too much about the scenery, this would be a great option. It doesn't change direction much, sometimes the rail bed is above the surroundings, sometimes below, giving a cozy feeling, but it's always visually pleasing but not in an attention-demanding (or especially memorable) sort of way.
The Western part (3/5) has similar scenery to the eastern part, but parallels Route 460 (the Prince Edward Highway) pretty closely. Route 460 gets a fair amount of traffic, including truck traffic, which spoils the zen aspect of the eastern part. I'd rather ride most of the trails near where I live in Ohio, not just my favorite local ones, above re-riding the western section.
I'd put all the other Virginia trails I've ridden ahead of this one in terms of scenery - Jackson River Scenic, New River, and Virginia Creeper. Those are also all farther west, and if you are in the area, it's worth at least riding the Central section. There's also a bike shop in Farmville, right near the trail, where you can rent bikes, so you don't even have to plan very far ahead to make a trip out to the Bridge.
If you only have a few days/limited ride time - here are my suggestions, based on 2 days of riding and driving the entire trail (yes - it runs RIGHT BESIDE Hwy 5 for most of its length) Which is why I rate it a 4 instead of a 5.
Background: Trail surface is smooth. I was on the bike at sunrise and finished by 10AM or so - both days (weekdays) I saw fewer than 10 bikers my entire ride, even though this was the week of Spring break (April 4th, 2022) for the local schools. Both trail heads I parked at appeared safe - there were no cars there when I started and only a few when I finished.
Ride 1: Park at Chickahominy Riverfront Park MM 7, ride East to Jamestown. Jamestown Island has a 5+ mile road that is one way, with a low speed limit. Less than 1 mile from the Jamestown TH is the Powhatan Creek Trail - a nice 2+ mile out and back trail (hilly ride, winding, lots of rough pavement from tree roots, but repairs are in the works). You can also ride several miles of unpaved paths off of the Powhatan Creek Trail. And of course, ride over the Chickahominy Creek bridge to finish your ride. I was able to get in 35 miles on this route. This entire ride is safe for all riders. Also - Colonial Parkway from Jamestown to Colonial Williamsburg is a safe ride with no commercial traffic allowed, but it is a rough surface. The bike route separates from Colonial Parkway - best to follow it rather than stay on Colonial where there is a tunnel that prohibits bicycles.
Ride 2: Park at Four Mile Creek Park MM 40 (a nice drive on a winding Hwy 5 with minimal traffic from Jamestown), ride West to Richmond. The Great Shiplock Park and Canal Walk are interesting. This is a much hillier ride than the Jamestown end, with several traffic light road crossings. Safe - but not ideal for all riders. With a ride through Dorey Park in Varina, I was able to get in 29 miles.
Overall a nice trail, very smooth surface, with some sections more appealing than others. Jamestown Island was the highlight.
Originally intended to end in Burkeville. Why was it not completed?
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