Southern Tip Bike & Hike Trail


10 Reviews

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Southern Tip Bike & Hike Trail Facts

States: Virginia
Counties: Northampton
Length: 5 miles
Trail end points: Capeville Drive btwn US 13 & Siding Rd. and Eastern Shore of VA NWR Visitor Center
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017651

Southern Tip Bike & Hike Trail Description

The Southern Tip Bike & Hike Trail runs parallel to the approach for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel for a total of 5 miles at the southern end of Virginia's Eastern Shore. Although never more than a stone's throw from busy US 13, the trail offers a sense of seclusion as it winds through forest and adjacent agricultural fields.

The trail connects the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Widlife Refuge with Kiptopeke State Park, so flora and fauna are always in abundance. Hikers and bikers can also sneak glimpses of the Chesapeake Bay along their trek, provided they are not too busy reading the interpretive signs dotting the trail's route.

The paved trail, which was built on the bed of the old Cape Charles Railroad, is just the beginning of a longer proposed rail-trail extending north. At present, the trail reaches Capeville Drive (Rt. 683).

Parking and Trail Access

The Southern Tip Bike & Hike Trail can easily be accessed by car just off of US 13 at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge on Seaside Road (Rt 600) or Cedar Grove Drive (Rt. 645). Parking is available at both of these locations. The Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center also has restrooms.

See TrailLink Map for more detailed information.

Southern Tip Bike & Hike Trail Reviews

We had a really nice ride...had the trail to ourselves (on a Thursday). We parked at the Welcome center and rode from there. Enjoy!!

We had a really nice ride...had the trail to ourselves (on a Thursday). We parked at the Welcome center and rode from there. Enjoy!!

Inline skating

Nice trail for inline skating, the asphalt is smooth and it's flat and straight. Nothing really scenic about it but even though it's along the road, you don't see it much as it's separated by a few feet of bushes/trees. Parts in the sun, parts in shade alternate. I wished they extended it north.

awesome beginning to a future long trail

This will someday extend almost 50 miles. follow friends of the eastern shore rail trail on fb


We bike this last week and found that even though it is next to the main highway the trees make it feel woodsy. We loved the bike fixing stations on each end of the trail. The 10 miles round trip was well worth


fun, easy first trail

This was my first bike ride on a trail with my husband and small dog (flipped into a basket) and it was perfect. All paved, almost completely flat. It’s actually 10 miles out and back if you do the whole trail. It was a hot day, but a lot of the trail was shaded.

Keep extending northward!

I biked the trail round trip end to end from southern trailhead (milepost 0.0) to Phase II northern terminus at Capeville Road (milepost 4.9) on a humid Saturday morning in June 2020. Although currently just shy of 5 miles one way - there is HUGE potential for Virginia's Eastern Shore if Phase III and Phase IV are built connecting to Cape Charles waterfront. Even more ambitious, VDOT is studying an Eastern Shore Rail to Trail project, extending an additional 49 miles from Cape Charles to Hallwood, Virginia.

As of June 2020, the 4.9 mile long trail provides a smooth and flat trip along a 10 foot wide asphalt surface. Wildflowers, shrubs, trees, agricultural fields and a few remnant Cape Charles Railroad industrial buildings line the route. the southern 2.5 miles (Phase I, opened in 2011) provides benches, repair stations, interpretive signs, parking and restrooms. The northern half (Phase II) has fewer amenities, but continues the smooth surface.

Being a regular driver along the adjacent US 13 (four lane 55 mph highway) I was surprised to find that the trail is about 50% in shade, with trees along both sides of the route and a thin canopy overhead. The other 1/2 of the trail is more open to the east, yet trees and shrubs are nearly continuous on the western side of the trail. This thin stand of pine and hardwood trees provides a visual buffer from the highway, but the noise of passing 18-wheel trucks is always present. If you're seeking an escape deep into natural solitude, this may not be the trail for you. However, the condition of the trail is superb. Additionally, crossing US13 near the southern terminus (be careful!) provides connections to Kiptopeke State Park and more (unpaved) trails. Overall, I remain hopeful that with expansion northward, the trail reaches greater potential. Currently, it still provides a great, albeit short experience. Come on, Eastern Shore, "build it, and they will come"!

July 9, 2019

I give a four based upon the overall experience of biking out there (more to come on this). The trail itself is pleasant enough if lacking a little in scenery. One passes potato farms (I almost got sucked into the dirt dust of a potato truck as I was riding the trail, b/c it parallels one farm in particular - for a short bit - where the farm's dirt road is right next to the trail). It is mostly in shade and mostly shielded from Route 13 by trees; just a few, short spots of exposure in both regards. The wildlife refuge offers a couple of trails one can bike as well, so that's a nice bonus. Also a nifty bonus is that Kiptopeke State Park is at the Capeville Rd. end of the trail. One does have to cross 13, but it's short and then one bikes down route 704 to the entrance to the park where there are several bikable trails. The trails are not for Major Mountain Bikers, if you are curious. I rode my hybrid on the sand-packed soil and was fine. The trails are flat. So the overall package available to a cyclist is actually quite nice if one takes advantage of rail-trail, the refuge and the state park.

Added route

You may also ride on quiet roads from the Wildlife Center down to walking trails which lead to a an old cannon barrel installation from WWII as well as riding down to a boat launch site with nice views of marshland and tidal areas-this added another 3.5 miles to our trip.Although we did not cross Rte 13 there is a State Park which may be accessed for additional miles as well.


NH kayaker They have added another 2 miles to this trail. You can now start just south of the pottery store on route 13. Small gravel parking lot. You do ride along route 13 but most of the time there are trees blocking the road but you hear the traffic. You pass a lot of farm land. Ends at wildlife refuge center which wasn’t open the day we were there. Only open weekends till summer. Porta potty at wildlife center parking lot. So total trail was now 4.9 miles. Nicely paved. Great trip


We had the opportunity to ride the trail while on our way to Kiptopeke State Park. I had read about the trail in the guide book "Virginia Rail Trails" by Joe Tennis.
The trail is paved, flat and short (2.5 miles) but can be combined with the many bike friendly trails at Kiptopeke State Park for a longer experience.
There is good access to parking at both ends.
While not a destination trail on its own it's certainly worth doing if in the area.
Hopefully it will be extended North in the future as proposed.

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