Virginia Capital Trail


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Virginia Capital Trail Facts

States: Virginia
Counties: Charles City, Henrico, James City, Richmond City
Length: 52 miles
Trail end points: Dock St at S 17th St under I-95 (Richmond) and 2102 Jamestown Rd at Jamestown Settlement (Williamsburg)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6553991

Virginia Capital Trail Description


The Virginia Capital Trail connects the state’s present-day capital of Richmond and the early colonial capital at the Jamestown Settlement, on a 52 mile course through history. The pathway offers access to numerous historical sites, trailside businesses, and rolling countryside. Well-maintained and mostly paved, the trail has some short wooden boardwalk sections and occasional road crossings, which are marked or signaled.

About the Route 

The Virginia Capital Trail’s northern endpoint is in Richmond, at Dock St at S. 17th St under I-95. The trail sets off southeast alongside the Richmond City Canal, which joins the James River at Great Shiplock Park. The park is home a restored historic lock used for ships docking in Richmond. A rail line also runs overhead. From here, the trail hugs the James River for roughly a mile, passing a bike rental shop and eateries, before turning slightly inland to find State Route 5. The trail remains near the James River, but not on the riverbank, for the remainder of the trail. 

After leaving the riverbank, the trail runs adjacent to State Route 5 for 6.2 miles before reaching Varina. In Varina, the trail detours from Highway 5, weaving through farms and suburban communities. As it loops back, the trail crosses under I-295 and follows the forested Four Mile Creek Park, which has a bike repair station, parking, restrooms, benches, and the beloved “Big Bike” sculpture.

After reconnecting with State Route 5, the trail continues southeast of Varina through rural countryside. The next full-service trailside restroom is in Charles City about 22 miles ahead, though port-a-potties can be found in-between. Near mile marker 27, the trail passes many fields and several former plantations, including Berkeley Plantation, birthplace of William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States. Between mile markers 25 and 20, Indian Field Tavern and the adjacent 5 Fields Brewing Company offer food and beverage options. In Charles City, 2.5 miles further east the trail has two brief on-road sections on either side of the Charles City Courthouse. Parking, restrooms, and a visitors center can be found at the Courthouse, as well as another trailside restaurant, the Culs Courthouse Grill. 

East of Charles City, the trail transitions to the Sherwood Forest segment as it continues alongside SR-5, here named John Tyler Memorial Parkway, after 10th US president, whose home, Sherwood Forest Plantation, is visible from the trail near mile marker 17. Near mile marker 15, a historic marker signposts the nearby Fort Pocahontas, built and manned by African-American Union troops during the civil war, it was the site of a significant Union victory when attacked by the Confederacy in 1864. Continuing east, the trail passes a convenience store as it makes its way on a mostly flat and straight segment towards the Chicahominy River. 

The trail crosses the Chickahominy River on the Judith Stewart Dresser Memorial Bridge at mile marker 7. The bridge takes trail users 50 feet above the river, treating them to photo-worthy views of the sparkling waters. On the eastern end of the bridge, Chickahominy Riverfront Park offers parking, restrooms, kayak rentals, campsites, and other attractions.

Between mile markers 3 and 2, trail-users can make a short northward detour on Centerville Road to Historic Green Spring, home to early colonial and Civil War historic markers. A few feet ahead of the detour turnoff, the trail turns south away State Route 5 to complete the journey to Jamestown. The Virginia Capital Trail’s eastern endpoint is at the 2102 Jamestown Rd, at the historic Jamestown Settlement.  Parking and restrooms are available along with museums and exhibits, including the Powhatan Indian Village, abound nearby. Those seeking refreshment and recreation can enjoy a brewery, beach, and marina.


At the Richmond endpoint, the Virginia Capital Trail connects to Richmond’s Low Line. In Williamsburg, a mile from the Jamestown Settlement endpoint, the trail connects to the Powhatan Creek Trail.

Trail History 

Jamestown, the trail’s eastern endpoint, was the first permanent English Colonial settlement in the Americas, founded in 1607. After a difficult start for the settlement, Jamestown served as the colonial capital from 1616 until 1699. The trail’s surrounding areas were sites of major events in early U.S. history, including the institution of slavery, the Revolutionary War, and the American Civil War. 

The Osborn Turnpike, which co-houses the trail for a segment southeast of Richmond, was one of the first artificial roads in the United States. 

Construction of the Virginia Capital Trail began in 2005. It was developed through a public/private partnership formed by the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation.  

Parking and Trail Access

The Virginia Capital Trail runs between Dock St at S 17th St under I-95 (Richmond) and 2102 Jamestown Rd at Jamestown Settlement (Williamsburg), with parking available in Williamsburg. 

Parking is also available:

  • 3115 Wharf St (Richmond) 
  • 10740 Courthouse Rd (Charles City)
  • 1350 John Tyler Hwy (Williamsburg)  

There are numerous parking options along this route, see TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions. 

Virginia Capital Trail Reviews


We only had one day to ride so rode from the Herring Creek trailhead to Jamestown and then back. We found the trail to be what most have stated previously. Signage was great, the asphalt trail was in great shape and it was not very crowded (we rode on Thursday). As other have stated there are not many facilities so pack food and water. Yes, there were some hills on that section but nothing crazy in our opinion. We gave it an "A". Would have been A+ if there had been even some port-a-johns here and there.

Our future in the VA Railroad Museum

As stated in the last review, you cannot enter any circumstances ride the Amtrak train back to Richmond from Williamsburg with E bikes! While indeed, my wife and I managed to do that we will clearly be the last people to ever be allowed to do so. To say that it was a nightmare is a huge understatement. We expect to be inducted into the Virginia railroad museum Hall of Fame in the future as the only couple to ever ride the Virginia Trail and return with E bikes on a train. Of this, we are very proud and glad to be trendsetter such as those that sat down at the sit in the 60s in the 70s for equal rights.

A beautiful ride with some important information

We rode from Richmond to Williamsburg on our bikes on April 15. The first 30 or so miles to Charles city were some of the smoothest surfaces I’ve ever seen! We stated a wonderful bed-and-breakfast called the grace field inn bed-and-breakfast. Our host fed us dinner as well as the traditional breakfast both of which were excellent. Larry and Patricia were both thoroughly enjoyable and it was fascinating to talk with Larry about his extensive knowledge of colonial architecture and Williamburg itself. There was a highlight of our trip the next day we rode the slightly bumpier but still wonderful and possibly prettier ride into Jamestown where the trail ends. From there it’s a bit of a navigation Chore to find your way to Williamsburg without getting on a highway for much of the route. We managed to only have to ride one and a half miles of Highway riding without a bike trail. Important note!! Under no circumstances no matter what you read no matter what Amtrak tells you no matter if you even call customer service and talk to them ahead of time, can you possibly will you ever be able to take your E bike on the Amtrak train back to Richmond.

Virginia capital trial

I give it 5 stars because it is over the whole way. I rode Williamsburg to Richmond. There are very little roots coming through the pavement which is a positive Shaded for the first 30 plus miles. Plenty of parking in Williamsburg and Richmond. I missed one turn. One nice rest stop about 10 miles from Richmond I live in Chesapeake Virginia and this was very hilly for me. Constant up and down. The negatives are the lack of benches to sit. I counted 3 of them for about 40 plus miles. There was also a lack of stores. Bring you own hydration. The


Virginia Capital to Capital Trail, Jamestown, VA

Wonderful paved trail where I bike and lead rides for our local trail club. Great for all level of bicyclists as its mostly flat on the Jamestown end. Led a group of 10 recently for 36 miles and had lunch at the Jamestown Settlement. It is shaded in the summer. It is one of my favorite paved trail to ride. It is also part of the Trans American Trail for going cross the country.

Suggested rides if you have limited time

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.

Great trail

Love this trail can’t wait to go back

Richmond to Williamsburg, Sept. 2021

We love biking rail trails so when we had a wedding in Richmond we decided to bike the VA Capital trail. We broke up the trip at a bnb in Charles City. We stayed at the Edgewood BnB which was right on the trail but in the middle of nowhere. We arrived hot and tired so the pool was refreshing but the nearest restaurant was 8 miles away - that would add 16 miles to our tired legs so the inn keeper was kind enough to drive us to the restaurant. Inn was clean and historic. The next night we stayed at the wedmore winery in Williamsburg. Which was very nice as well but being on bikes we were far from any kind of night life. The trail wasn’t very scenic as is was along a highway with very little areas to stop for food or bathroom s no shade so we did not want my to bike back. We ended up staying at the winery another night and taking the train back to Richmond. highwayThere was no shade and very few places to stop along the way.

Daughter dropped us off at Mile Marker 40…

…and we rode the trail back to Jamestown. This was in late October of 2021 and we were looking for fall foliage. We were a couple of weeks early. A great ride overall, though, and the trail was in great shape.

Started out from Richmond. Made it to Charles city. 37.5 this was for Memorial day weekend. Of 2021. Heading back for Labor day weekend. For round 2 .. going the distance. 52

Started out from Richmond. Made it to Charles city. 37.5 this was for Memorial day weekend. Of 2021. Heading back for Labor day weekend. For round 2 .. going the distance. 52

Outstanding trail. My wife dropped me off in Richmond and meant me in Jamestown. Rode it on June 12th 2021. It wasn't crowded at all and the only thing I would say is the trail isn't wide enough.

Outstanding trail. My wife dropped me off in Richmond and meant me in Jamestown. Rode it on June 12th 2021. It wasn't crowded at all and the only thing I would say is the trail isn't wide enough.

Nice trail, but facilities are limited

Nicely paved trail, mostly flat from Jamestown to Charles City except the bridge over a river. Rolling hills as you go towards Richmond. We did a two day ride from Jamestown to Richmond, then the next day back. Richmond along the river is beautiful. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Downtown, just a few blocks from the start of the trail.
The only reason for four stars as facilities, like rest rooms and shelter are very minimal. Some trailheads that have rest rooms, could be a mile off the trail.

Great Shiplock Park out & back

Great 40 mile ride on the trail today. Not much parking at the park, but found ParkMobile parking a few blocks away in Shockoe Bottom. There’s a few more minor hills at this end, but we picked up less than 1,000ft of climbing in the 40 miles and nothing was over 6%. It’s not a big deal for anything with gears, but certainly not for a beach cruiser or an old 3speed. The scenery was great and the trail wasn’t crowded during the week. We grabbed dinner at Hot Chicks and would recommend the Nashville style Hot Chichen. The trail is awesome and well maintained. I especially liked the mile posts each mile and the many historical plaques.

You know you want to ride it!

A wonderful 50 mile, paved, off road bike trail between Jamestown (first capital) and Richmond (current capital), Virginia! We did a video of our ride this fall that is on our YouTube channel, Bent on Bike Trails.

beautiful trail

I come here almost every weekend. It gets crowded during summer so make sure u start early to get a parking space.


Great ride. Rode East and had a great time. I recommend grabbing a small trail map early so you know where bathrooms and tool kits are located.

Nice ride

My buddy and I did the round trip this past Sunday, Aug 30. Beautiful day for a long ride.

Great bike trail!

We started the trail in Jamestown. The trail is well maintained, mostly flat and not too crowded. We rode out to the Sherwood Forest Plantation and turned around. 34 miles round trip. The challenge of the day was the Chickahominy River Bridge. Steep but fun and rewarding view when you get to the top. 100% recommend.

Noisy but pretty Trail

We were in the area and enjoyed the weather as it was a beautiful fall day. Flat, well paved and tree lined. Disappointed that cars and trucks were consistently going by just a stones throw off the bike trail.

Worth the Travel

Drove from WDC to Richmond for a 60 mile training ride and loved the uncongested trail with excellent surface. Very infrequent stops available for restocking fluids or food, so pack accordingly. Will definitely come again.


On Wed 3Apr, four of us drove from Raleigh NC , parked in a secure paid-parking lot in Richmond VA, within 1 mile of Trail head. We backpacked requirements for an overnight stay. We biked to Green Spring Vacation Resort near the Jamestown Settlement. For a reasonable price, we got a 4-bedroom / 4-bathroom overnight rental. We Uber-ed to dinner and back. The next day we biked back to Richmond and made many stops to read the historical signs posted all along this beautiful paved trail. We were blessed with awesome weather and only 1 flat! I will describe this trail as 30% flat, 35% hill climbing, and 35% hill descending! Both days, we met a variety of riders going in both directions. The 2-day b-ride with about 55 miles each day was well-worth our 6-hour r/trip drive!

Awesome Trail

It’s an awesome trail and very easy to ride. 54 miles will various places to stop and rest along the way. I ridden the trail twice starting in Richmond, finishing at the Jamestown. And then took the Capital Trail Shuttle back to Richmond.

Two times the charm

November 2017 we paddled this trail west of Chickahominy campground. We thoroughly enjoyed pedaling this trail and the geocaching along the way. You can hear the traffic along most of this trail, but the condition of it is excellent. Enjoyed multiple trips to Cul's Courthouse Grille. This November we finished the trail east to Jamestown. Again a lot of the trail paralleled the highway, but the geocaching was fun.

everything but the path itself was great

My wife and I drove from north of Baltimore to do the trail the first week of Oct over 2 days starting at Richmond and finishing at Jamestown. Overall, it was a good experience.
Lest anyone be fooled, I would not consider this easy. The first day we rode to and stayed at North Bend plantation (more on that in the minute). That was a 33 mile first day. There were constant hills throughout those 32 miles (1 mile done off trail) While no one incline was onerous by itsef the cumulative toll of all of them after 30+ miles was obvious by the time we were done. (We are not rookies, we recently rode the 110 mile Florida Keys and the 62 mile PA Grand Canyon). I would rate this one more as moderate than easy. The trail itself is paved well, and with 2 exceptions well marked. The most disappointing aspect of it was the lack of diverse scenery. It really wasn't all that scenic, it was mostly along the road on one side and the same scrubby woods on the other. And that is the other BIG negative, the road. Any sense of tranquility along the way is disrupted by the fact that while on a path the road is literally right next to you for about 90% of the ride. It is well traveled enough to keep you from getting relaxed with any sense of nature.
Now the best parts. The night at North Bend Plantation was awesome. Miss Ridgely is a terrific and fun hostess. The place is loaded with history and when she tells you it will feel like Grandma's house, yes, you do feel that much at home.
On arrival in Jamestown, we played tourist at the settlement, then spent the evening at Wedmore Place at Williamsburg Winery. The price, the room, the dining and especially the service was A+ all the way.
Finally, the Capital Trail Shuttle back to Richmond. Cheyenne and her service merit yet another A+. She was great at communicating, easing any concerns before and during the trip. She was on time, helpful and friendly.
All in all, a good 2 1/2 day trip. Worth the 3 hour drive to get started in Richmond...once. Would definitely visit both lodgings again. As for the trail, of the several overnighters we've done, this ride comes in last place for enjoyment of the ride itself.

Virginia Capital Trail

On an unseasonably hot and very windy day in early May, 2017, four of us got on our bikes at the parking lot of Jamestowne Settlement for the 52-mile ride to Richmond. The trail is wonderful: a variety of settings from shaded woods to open fields, flat sections and hills. The views in many places are beautiful. Our only criticism is that there are almost no places to refill your water bottle. That was a serious issue on the day we rode with temps near 90 and strong headwinds. The next day was cool when we rode back east so the lack of water was not as serious. Hopefully, as this trail is used more (since it is relatively new) this deficit will be addressed. Right how the trail is in excellent condition and we hope it stays that way. It is a top-notch ride.

2nd time - we've bookended it

rode once here from the southern trail end in jamestown up 12.5 & back ... this time we started at the richmond end and rode 9 to dory park and back -- we'll need to go back and do the middle section one day .... anyhow this section is a little more "citified" than the other end - but great surface - it is hilly here (a little surprising) .... very few road crossings for going through a big city like richmond .. look for the big bike outside the city -- dory park was a good stop .. i wish there was a better trail guide for trying to plan a multi day trip

Excellent Trail

Today I rode the entire trail both directions. I started in Richmond and rode East to Jamestown, then back to Richmond. The trail is very smooth, constructed of blacktop in good condition. There are several stores and businesses along the route that one can stop and purchase beverages. The trail is fairly flat but has some small undulations with total elevation gain of roughly 1000' in each direction.

Smooth Ride

Enjoyed a two day adventure from Richmond to Jamestown/Williamsburg and back. This dedicated (bicycles/walkers/runners) trail is relatively flat, smooth, and mostly scenic. The section from Jamestown to Charles City is perfect for beginning cyclist as it is very flat. For the intermediate rider this trail would be a great option for that first century ride.

I rode the trail on a Tuesday and Wednesday in late October, and passed several cycling groups as well as individual runners/cyclist. Based on this experience, I would think that weekend use could be heavy.

Finally, I was surprised that I did not encounter any hostile pets (e.g., dogs) even though the trail crosses through various residential areas.

Many thanks to those responsible for this lovely trail.

Enjoyable trail

We rode this trail from Four Mile Creek Park to Richmond and back this week on Tuesday. It is well maintained and well marked. The other riders/walkers were courteous and friendly. A few days later, we rode from Four Mile Creek Park to Charles City and back which was also very nice. The pavement is good. There are very few crossings where you have to stop. The scenery is farmland until you get to Richmond. Good signage for the wooden bridges and grade changes. Altogether a well done trail and great community builder.

Great Trail. Perfect length. Great destinations at both ends. A lot of planning and thought went into design of intersections with side roads. Path crosses side roads further back from stop sign intersections making it a lot safer for trail users and cars. Loved it!

perfect trail!

During a heat wave, we decided to ride this trail. Stayed mid-way and rode to Jamestown one day then to Richmond the next day. What a perfect trail! Thank you to those who had the vision to create this perfect riding trail. We took lots of water but wanted to stop to cool down and found adequate places along the trail as we needed them. Ready to return on a cooler day and do the whole trail in one day - but shuttle service is needed!


Captivating route and friendly faces the whole time. Best time to take this route is morning and evening. The afternoon when the sun is at its fullest it gets a extra hot from the black asphalt increasing the actual temperature.

Virginia Capital Trail

Great ride through Colonial history of Virginia

Avoid on weekends

There are two kinds of users on this trail: spandex Cat 6 racers and clueless newbies. The Capital Trail is nice smooth rolling asphalt, which means it is plagued by hundreds of Strava time trialists going too fast for conditions. And there are hundreds more rank amateurs who have never used a multi-use path before. Riding on the left, riding 2 and 3 abreast, zig zagging, stopping on the trail, you'll see it all. I've even rung my bell and called out to pass only to have the newbie become infuriated as if I had insulted them. But more commonly you will be approaching a congested area like the Four Mile Creek parking lot when a time trialist silently snakes you at 25mph with no warning. There is just a total disregard for etiquette here. So the best time to use the trail is weekdays or not so nice weather. Seriously, the people on this trail are clueless.

The trail itself is very nice asphalt with gently rolling terrain through a mix of woods and fields. There are few amenities. The only bathrooms are a port a john at Four Mile Creek, bathrooms at Chickahominy Riverfront Park, and at Lewis Park in Charles City, about a mile off the trail. There is one restaurant in Charles City, a BBQ spot in Varina, and a few country gas stations along Route 5. If you want to go to Williamsburg you continue on the Colonial Parkway from the Jamestown parking lot for about 7-8 miles.

Church Hill to Williamsburg in tandem

One of our sons and his family live in RVA directly above Great Shiplock Park, MM 53. We (my wife/stoker and I) were excited when we read of the VA Capital Trail and were excited to have it open late last summer; we started making plans to have a go.
Our plan was to spend a day peddling down to the Jamestown/Colonial Williamsburg area, and then spend the following day exploring Colonial Williamsburg and peddle back to RVA the 3rd day. We are happy to report that our plan worked to near perfection.
We rolled down Church Hill the morning of Tuesday, 31 May 2016, took the obligatory selfie at the MM and headed off toward Jamestown. Living in Indiana, we know flat when we see it but we were pleasantly surprised at the rolling nature of some of the trail sections. The trail was smooth, well maintained, and exceedingly pleasant. The only reason we gave it 4 stars and not 5 was due to the fact that the trail spends a good bit of its length in close proximity to the road. However, it did move away from the road more than we expected having read prior reviews.
We took our time (averaging just over 13 mph down and back), and enjoyed the journey. we stopped for a nice lunch at Cul's Courthouse Grille (nearly full of bicyclists when we arrived : ) and were buying our tickets to checkout Jamestown about 2:30. We were a bit rushed in Jamestown (closing at 5:00 but we felt like we learned a lot). We then followed the Colonial Parkway to Williamsburg (we found the composite surface was not too rough with the 32s on our tandem). The good people at the Williamsburg Comfort Inn Gateway kindly welcomed us and encouraged us to store our bike in our room.
We took the day off the bike on Wednesday and walked through Colonial Williamsburg. Time well spent!
On Thursday, 02 June 2016 we started our trip back to RVA in a bit of a mist that persisted until we arrived at Jamestown Island (again, using the Colonial Parkway). we were never really sure if it was rain or just a heavy fog but it did not keep us from enjoying the route. We decided to do the extended loop around Jamestown Island and we were glad we did - a very enjoyable trail.
Once we completed the loop, we peddled back to the Capital Trail MM 0 and headed back. We did not stop for a meal on the way back to RVA, just stopping at a gas station along the way for nuts and Gatorade. Unfortunately, the timing for lunch at Ronnie's BBQ did not work out on the way back as we had hoped. We will have to get back there on our next visit. Otherwise, there were sufficient amenities to meet our needs - it seemed there always seemed to be a rest stop available when we needed it.
In all, we did 63 miles on the way down and 72 miles on the way back (Jamestown Island loop included) and enjoyed every one; with the possible exception of that last bit! We got to the end of the trail at MM 53 with no problem but we still had to get back to our son's house up on Church Hill. I have to admit we did walk our tandem up a good portion of 'the hill."

In it for the long haul!

Luckily enough, I live within 10 mins driving distance of the trail, around the 29 mile marker. I've been afford the opportunity to ride the whole trail many times over in segments. The ride from the 29 mile marker to Jamestown has a few hills but for the most part is fairly flat. As for the tree roots...I do agree that this will continue to worsen as time passes. There are 3 convenient stores before you reach the bridge to heaven...what a hill! It does however offer a good view of the river and the occasional watercraft. Always check the weather forecast before riding as I was caught in pretty bad thunderstorm on my return's always fun dodging lighting bolts. There is a very nice parking area located at the I295 and Rt.5 exit directly across from the Exxon and food stop. This section towards Richmond is probably the nicest as it winds back through the a heavily wooded area back under I295. Plenty of wooden bridges to admirer...I give this 2 thumbs up. There are plenty of stops along the way to grab a bite to eat. Upon approaching Richmond as you round the curve the skyline opens up...just breath taking. Don't look to long and hang on there's massive hill not to far...quite fun on a fixed gear with no freewheel. The whole trail is quite enjoyable and will be used frequently by my two wheel stop reading this post and go ride it!

Richmond to Jamestown and back....well not quite!

Parked down at Ship Lock Park at 6:30 am and pedaled to the Canal Walk first and then back-tracked to marker 53. If you can pedal up and over the long hill coming out of Richmond, you'll be fine for the next 8-10 miles, then it's a series of up and downs along Route 5. Make sure you have plenty of water if you plan on doing the whole length. There's a few places to stop at for drinks along the way but they're few and far between.
I made it to Jamestown by 12:40 and turned around the started back. Within the first 5 miles I could tell I wasn't going to make the whole trip back to Richmond so I called my wife to meet me at Charles City to have dinner at Cul's Courthouse Grille and load up my bike for the ride home.
The condition of the trail was a 8.5 out of 10. The older section towards Jamestown has some tree root issues, which are causing the blacktop to buckle up and make for a bumpy ride in some areas. Also be careful for the Sweet Gum seed pods during the winter and early spring months. I noticed quite a few of them on the trail and they could cause tire issues.
Overall it's a great trail and I give it a 4 would have gotten a 5 if it was built away from a high traveled road like Rt. 5.

I ended up pedaling 75 miles that day....but I'll be back to do the complete round-trip of the trail.

Jamestown end of trail

We rented bikes from the James County Marina on Jamestown Rd. Google maps could not find this place but if you turn on Colonial Parkway to go to the Jamestown Settlement it is located just pass the Jamestown Settlement on your left. This is the only place you can rent bikes from the Jamestown end of the trail. You can park at the marina for free and bike rentals cost us $18 for half day. We really enjoyed our ride. The trail was beautiful, wide, mostly tree-lined, clearly marked, well-maintained and away from the main roads. There were a few places you had to cross the main road but it wasn't too bad because there was not too many cars that traveled those roads. You should bring water and pack a lunch. There is no businesses until a service station pass the 12 mile marker. There you can pick up sandwiches and drinks. We heard there is a restaurant you can go to at the 20 mile marker but we had to turn back before then since we had to return our bikes before the marina closed.

These boots were made for walking...

I am a 57 year old woman and have enjoyed distance walking for much of my life. In the past two years I started running and enjoyed meeting some new challenges in that regard, but decided to give it up for the sake of my knees. Wanting a new goal to shoot for I had recently started thinking how fun it would be to walk from Richmond to Williamsburg or Charlottesville- but did not think there was a safe way to meet that goal. Then I read an article on the completion of the Virginia Capital Trail!
I walked the first leg from The trail head in Richmond to Cul's Courthouse Grille in Charles City on December 4. Thinking that the trail ran along route 5, I expected it to be around 28 miles, but because of the part of the trail that allows safe passage around Interstate 295, it turned out to be 32.7 miles. The day was beautiful and cool, there were convenience stores and bathrooms to be found on the first half of the day, but I was glad that I had packed enough snacks and extra water for the 2nd half. Thanks to my husband, I had a ride back to Richmond after completing the first 1/2 of the trail.
I walked the 2nd 1/2 of the trail on December 18. I parked my car at the Charles City courthouse and headed out... The walk to the Jamestown Settlement was 20.3 miles and my family met me there and gave me a ride back to my car in Charles City!
I thoroughly enjoyed both days of walking though found the terrain to be more varied on the leg from Richmond to Charles City. The trail is beautifully maintained and landscaped and felt very safe. The trail markers every mile keep you feeling very connected to where you are on your journey...I encountered both casual and distance bikers and a few walkers. The only amenities I found lacking were benches or places to take a break that didn't involve sitting on the ground.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience - Thank you!

Favorite trail we have been on

September 2015 This is the best trail we have ever been on. For the past few years we have been staying at the Chickahominy Riverfront State Park Campground. Going south into Jamestown is busier with more street crossing that you have to slow down or stop at. Going North is fantastic with only a couple of traffic areas in Charles City. We did 20 miles up then the 20 back last year. Planning a round trip of 50 next year to the Shirley Plantation. They did a real nice job of not making it just straight along route 5, it is gently winding. It is so nice staying at the campground and heading out with the trail right in front of you.

Great trail

Rode from Richmond to Jamestown on October 24, 2015. The trail is about eight feet wide for most of its length and has gentle rolling hills throughout its length. Views are primarily restricted to the adjacent woods or roadway, but is separated from the road by a wide grassy area abundantly populated by trees.

There's an elevated view of the river when on the top of the bridge near the Chickahominy campground on Rt 5.

It's a great trail for a long ride, but not a lot of places to refill water bottles, go to the bathroom, or buy food.

did the southernmost section ... would love to do more

parked at the jamestown settlement - no issues to do that - rode 12.5 miles up and back for a nice quarter century --- like the review title says i'd love to do other sections of it in the future .... this section gave us the chance to ride the bridge over the chickahominy river --- the one busy road crossing is signed w/lights and warnings .... nice ride on a nice day

Wonderful Trail for History

I began in downtown Richmond, easy free parking by the river and a wonderful pizza lunch at Bottoms Up restaurant right along the trail. Biked about 7 miles east on a perfect fall day and got off the trail to explore Battlefield Parkway, which was fantastic: five earthen fortifications and Civil War battle trenches all along the parkway, with great photographs from 1865 on display at the Union and Confederate forts. The battles were well described at each site. This side trip was a surprise bonus to riding on a brand new, asphalt trail. Beautiful mansions, farm fields, and the James River are all very pleasant accompaniments to this trail. Can't wait to go back and explore plantations along this trail to Williamsburg and some of the other 17 Civil War sites in the Richmond area. Virginia has THE best bike trails: New River, Virginia Creeper, and Capital-Capital!!

Beautiful Trail

We just rode this trail and did 60 miles on it and it is just a great trail! It is paved and plenty wide enough, and also virtually flat. Except the bridge which puts a little challenge into the ride! The only thing that could make this trail better would be some guard rails on the road which is right next to the trail. We rode it from Jamestown to the outskirts of Charles County Courthouse and loved every minute on this trail!

Great trail, but some hills are challenging with a trailer.

My wife and I rode the tail from Richmond to Williamsburg (the last few miles were off the trail) this past Saturday on our Origami Crane 8 folding bikes. The trail is wonderful, but there are a few hills that make pulling a 60-pound trailer a bit of a challenge. There are not many services available once you get past Varina, but there is a wonderful little restaurant right on the trail, about 30 miles east of Richmond, that offers great food and a charming atmosphere. The restaurant is in an old (maybe early 1800's) building.


Correct you are. My wife and I did 26 miles today. Scenic flat and enjoyable. We started i and returned to Jamestown. PDF CT

Cap Trail

53 miles from downtown Richmond to Jamestown. Paved with rolling hills and varied landscape. Plenty of trail head parking at various spots along the trail for shorter rides. A very well done developed trail.

Best trail in Eastern Virginia

When this trail fully opens in October 2015 - there will be lots of happy riders in Eastern Virginia. I rode it end to end on 8/15/15 from Jamestown to the current terminus near Herring Creek in Charles City County (about 29 miles one-way). The route is very well marked with signs and mile markers. Smooth, wide pavement and excellent condition of bridges throughout. Two scenic highlights and resting points are the Chickahominy Riverfront Park (beautiful views from the wide bridge), and the Charles City County Visitor Center (America's 3rd oldest court house building). Public restrooms are available at both locations. I rode early - leaving Jamestown at 7AM. By the time I was heading back east, I was in need of more "fuel" - and thankfully there was a gas station / small country store just east of the Charles City County visitor's center - drinks and various granola bars available.

The route has varying scenery and landscape - from riverfront views, corn and soybean fields - to wooded sections. Despite the route's proximity to Route 5 - it still is a place to escape modern life (although I predict the trail will become crowded with day-trippers like me when it connects to downtown Richmond). Another trail highlight is the history. There are lots of markers along the route - detailing everything from the various plantation homes to the native tribes that pre-dated Jamestown settlement.

I look forward to the trail connecting Richmond to Jamestown - and predict it will quickly provide a major tourism boost to the area.

A Piece of cake

I parked near the Welcome Center and rode out 15 miles towards Richmond and turned around shortly after to equal 30 miles total. The trails are wide enough for 3 rider's to be on at the same time. Not a lot of hills and the scenary is beautiful. Great for a new rider or an experienced one without worrying about the traffic. :). Great for as a family ride or a "solo" ride. A must do and must see trail!

Great Ride

I parked at the visitors center near the library, no issues and the bathrooms were nice and clean. Great bike ride. I wish there was a few more places to park pending the direction you are coming from.

Charles City to Jamestown Settlement

This spring my wife and I took the Virginia Capital Trail out and back from Charles City to Jamestown Settlement. We started out at Charles City, parking in the courthouse parking lot. There is plenty of room for free parking and there are clean bathrooms available. Just down the hill is the trail, which is paved all the way to Jamestown Settlement. The trail is mostly flat and you can go a bit faster because it is paved. It was a rainy day so we did not stop much along the trip, but there isn’t a lot to stop for except for a break or a photograph. I had wished we had been on the trail a couple of weeks earlier because there are daffodils planted all along the trail, but the flowers had since died. At about 10 miles in we crossed the James River. The weather was not very good so it was not as an impressive view as it could have been. We arrived in Jamestown Settlement, stopped for some coffee at the welcome center, and headed back out on the trail. Overall this is a nice trail and great for people that want to stay on asphalt, but there is not much to see. There were actually quite a few other people and families out on bikes that day, even with the bad weather. I think next time I would like to continue all the way to Williamsburg connecting at the Colonial National Historic Highway.

Trail ride 10/23/14

Started at the Jamestown visitors parking lot and rode out 6 miles before turning around and returning. The first 3 miles are thru beautiful country side , but the trail then joins rte 5 and although fairly flat and well paved the scenery is route 5 and lacks any appeal perhaps it picks up the closer u get to the river. Called a rail trail but it is a paved greenway and not a rail trail. Over all a very nice trail and if I am ever back in the area I would ride it again!

great trail

We rode the Virginia Capital Trail for the 2nd time today. We were able to get in 18 miles by going around a couple of "road closed" signs. It is a great trail, lots of shade, fairly flat, beautiful countryside. I highly recommend.

Nice trail!

My wife, daughter, son-in-law and myself rode the trail on a Saturday morning. We parked at the Charles City County parking lot which had plenty of parking. There are bathrooms in the complex which was convenient after driving 40 minutes.

We rode West for about 7.75 miles until the trail ended which was a pretty easy ride and returned to the lot. There are some rolling hills but nothing really challenging so the average rider will have no problem at all. The trail is asphalt so it is a very smooth ride. I am from Pa. and am very jealous as we have nothing like this in my area.

After we wee done we walked across the street to the Courthouse Grill for lunch. They were extremely busy as there was a group of 30 bike riders there before us. Took awhile to get our food but was to be expected with such a large group. No complaints about the service or quality of food.

When we left we traveled towards Jamestown and noticed the trail is almost finished with the exception of a few miles here and there. Can't wait to come back and experience this trail when it is completed to Richmond.

Great Summer Afternoon on the Trail

We rode the eastern end of the Virginia Capital Trail on Sunday 9/1/2013. This was our first time on this part of the trail. We have previously ridden the Charles City portion several times. We parked at the Jamestown parking lot.

The trail was mostly flat with a couple of road crossings that were easy to manage. We were surprised at the amount of shade throughout the entire early afternoon ride. We encountered a few walkers (near Greensprings – as to be expected) and several other bikers, but had the trail to ourselves. We could ride side-by-side at a great pace for a much of the trail. There are some benches in the Greensprings portion in case you need a break. We also rode on the Dresser bridge. the views were great and I felt very safe on the bridge.

To add to our ride, we rode the Powhatan Creek Trail. You can find info on the trail on the James City County website. The trail connects directly to the VCT and begins in a field. Then you wind around the back of a neighborhood. Finally, you get to Powhatan Creek and the riding terrain is more diverse, shaded, and beautiful. There are a couple of bridges and some hills, but it is well worth it. The trail ends at an elementary school.

We also took the advice of some locals and rode on Jamestown Island. This is adjacent to Jamestown. Some sources say you have to pay ($14 pp) but the information center on the island did not charge us since we were only going to ride (and not see the island attraction). A brochure on Williamsburg bike trails states that this is the safest for beginners and/or families, however, it does share the road with cars driving in to read the interpretive signs. The advantage is the speed limit is 15 mph. I found the vehicles to be very accommodating to us, but the road is narrow, and sometimes the cars had difficulty passing us.

Eco Discovery Park is located across from Jamestown. They have bike rentals available (comfort bikes and mountain bikes). They were also generous enough to lend us helmets for the day at no charge.

Overall, we were very pleased with our trip and were able to ride nearly 25 miles only unloading the bikes once!

Wonderful Day on the Trail

My husband and I set out to bike the Chicahominy River Section of the trail but after a mile or two decide that this was not for us. This trail was along side a very busy section of RT. 5. With that said the trail is paved and smooth and plenty of bikers enjoying the trail.
We decided to try the Charles City Courthouse trail. Although it also runs along side of RT. 5 it is not as busy and the scenery is completely different. There are corn fields and wheat fields, plantations along the way and not as flat.
However the trail head is difficult to find. Park at the back of the court house cut through to the front of the court building go through the grass on to the road that has the brick city buildings go past the post office and right past the Methodist church you will see the beginning of the trail.

There was a lovely restaurant called Charles City Tavern that we stopped at on the way back. Great service and the food was wonderful.

Great ride

My friend and I have ridden this trail several times. The surface is asphalt and is great. Nothing too steep, either. It is a nice local ride for us. We have ridden the Greensprings and Charles City Courthouse sections and walked the Richmond Riverfront section. I'd have to say the best part is the Charles City Courthouse section because when you are done, there's the Courthouse Grill right across the street from the visitor/parking area--delicious food! It will be nice when the entire route is complete and one can ride from Jamestown to Richmond. Had to knock off one star because the scenery is just OK.

Chicahominy River Section

We are from NC and visit family often in Williamsburg. We always bring our bikes and enjoy riding this trail. It is wonderful. Would like to see the Chicahominy River Section and Charles City Courthouse Section connected. Hope it happens soon.

Charles City Courthouse section -- inline skating

This is a really nice ~6 mile section of smooth pavement for inline skating. Motor vehicle traffic is prohibited, and they seem to do a pretty nice job of keeping the debris clear. The trail parallels Rt. 5 (I think it used to be Rt. 5), is generally flat, with just a couple turns and small hills. I was there a couple Saturdays ago (Oct. 2011) and I met only two bikers during the entire 12 mile round trip. Park at the courthouse and skate-up there, then it's just a block or so to the trail head. Just a couple intersections to worry about. Nice.

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