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Closure Notice: In October 2018, Hurricane Michael caused a large portion of the trail to wash out and compromised the structural integrity of a stone bridge. The eastern 4 miles of the trail—from the Sutherlin terminus to the Shawnee Road/County Road 655 trailhead—have since closed to undergo repairs; these are estimated to be completed by the end of 2022. Please check with the trail manager for the latest information on closures and current trail conditions.
The Richmond and Danville Rail-Trail the follows part of the right-of-way of the old railroad of the same name, an important transportation corridor for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The railroad linked the Confederate capital of Richmond with Southside (the area between the James River and the North Carolina border), where hospitals, prisons, and supply depots were located. Jefferson Davis and the Confederate army took the route of this railroad line when they retreated from Richmond near the end of the war. They also used it to carry war supplies and Union prisoners.
Today, the scenic Richmond and Danville Rail-Trail consists of 5.5 miles of this historic corridor, which eventually became part of the Norfolk Southern Railway system. Also called the Ringgold Rail Trail, the rail-trail opened in January 2001. It travels past farmland and through sparse woods, providing a flat route for a walk or bike ride in the rural Virginia countryside on the outskirts of Danville.
Start at the western terminus—the Ringgold Train Depot—and in only 1 mile, you will reach a wetland area for prime waterfowl-watching. At 1.5 miles, you will hit a trailhead at Shawnee Road/County Road 655, where you can find parking and a portable toilet. Continue east another 4 miles to the eastern terminus in Sutherlin. If you are looking for evidence of the trail’s railroading past, you’ll find a restored railroad depot and an old red caboose at the Sutherlin trailhead.
The ride is comfortable for bicyclists and easy for hikers of all ages; it’s also wheelchair-accessible. You can brush up on your Civil War his-tory as well, as plaques along the way detail significant events that happened nearby.
From Danville, take US 58 east for about 2.5 miles then head north on State Route 734/Ringgold Depot Road for 3 miles. The western trailhead is located on the south side at 100 Ringgold Depot Road.
To access the eastern trailhead, continue east on US 58 for an additional 3.75 miles then head north on Hackberry Road/State Route 656 for 3.25 miles. The trailhead is west of Hackberry Road/Kerns Church Road near the intersection of Kerns Mill Road.
Parking is also available in Sutherlin on Shawnee Road/CR 655, 300 feet north of Sandy Bottom Road.
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