This summer escape the heat without becoming a climate-controlled couch potato. Maintain your exercise and activity levels by hiking the shady, railroad grade Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail. Renting bikes, or packing a picnic lunch, can turn this activity into a weekend day trip destination.
The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail for the most part runs alongside the Piney River, with the river providing a constant companion of babbling song. Other natural companions on the trail include: buzzing insects, colorful butterfly, water-loving dragonflies, chirping birds, lowing cattle old farm buildings, fields, and distant mountains.
Other natural companions on the trail include: buzzing insects, colorful butterfly, water-loving dragonflies, chirping birds, lowing cattle old farm buildings, fields, and distant mountains.
Visitors who hike the full length of the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail can expect shaded lanes for the most part, a sprinkling of full-sun stretches, and a couple of river crossings on wooden bridges. The trail at present is one-way; this means however far you walk in, you have to walk that far back out to return to your car.
Conveniently, there are mile markers about every quarter or half mile, as well as several resting benches along the trail. Walking or biking the full trail totals about 12 miles, 6 miles in and 6 miles out.
There are also two parking areas: Mile 1 of the trail begins at State Route 151, traveling about 2 miles before meeting up with State Route 674. The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail crosses over Roses Mill Road, or State Route 674, and continues on for another 4 miles or so one-way to the end of the trail at a metal gate. Both parking areas are ample, and have pit toilets.
With plenty of interesting and varied trail features, the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail can easily provide 2-5 or more hours of cool and refreshing FREE entertainment on an early weekend morning during hot summer months. Straddling nearby Nelson and Amherst counties, the trail is an easy hour’s ride from Charlottesville through scenic mountain and valley roads.
The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail is open to foot traffic, bicycles and horses; dogs on leashes (8 feet or shorter) are also permitted. And with railroad grades, the trail is very user-friendly for all ages and fitness levels.
Water, food and snacks are not available at either trailhead, so plan ahead. The trailhead, located near Piney River, VA about 50 miles outside of Charlottesville, is open dawn to dusk. (The trail is a little hard to find on a map, but is physically located directly off State Route 151 at Piney River, VA.)
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