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OUTDOOR ADVENTURES

A Guide to the Virginia Capital Trail

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by David Timberline

A ribbon of wonder stretches between Richmond and Williamsburg called the Virginia Capital Trail. It’s nearly 52 miles of relatively flat, scenic, recreational freedom.

Bikers, walkers and joggers can wander without worry, free from concerns about a wide-load semi or an inattentive driver sideswiping them at any minute.

But what does a Cap Trail newbie need to know? Here’s a breakdown:

Where should I start?

There are dozens of access points, but the most convenient include:

Great Shiplock Park: Mile 51, downtown Richmond. There’s plenty of parking and easy access off Dock Street.

Four Mile Creek Park: Mile 40. Conveniently located off Interstate 295.

Herring Creek Road: Mile 27. A nice jumping-off point for non-trail activities.

Chickahominy Riverfront Park: Mile 7. A scenic park with an easy ride to Jamestown.

What if I don’t have a bike?

Biking provides the best bang-for-the-buck trail experience.

The Kickstand (804-971-7585), Mile 50.5. A true trailside rental shop, but has regular hours only on weekends.

Shift Bikes (804-309-0134) and Adventures in RVA (804-648-2453) are only a couple blocks from the Richmond trailhead and available during the week.

BikeBeat in Williamsburg (757-29-0096) is the option closest to the Jamestown trailhead.

Where can I stop to eat or drink?

The Capital Trail Foundation has its top 5 suggestions.

I’d add that there are convenience stores at Mile 48, fast-foody places like Subway and Dairy Queen on either side of Interstate 295 (miles 44 and 39.5), and the quaint Sandy Point Superette at Mile 13.

How can I add to or extend the trail experience?

The most obvious option is Jamestown and the adjacent Colonial National Historic Park at Mile 0.

Other great possibilities include a ramble down Richmond Battlefield Road, a hard right at Mile 45 that opens up to 6 miles along a lightly traveled road ending at the riverside Richmond Yacht Basin.

Another is a nice loop that takes in Berkeley and Westover plantations, accessible from the parking lot at Mile 27,

Where can I get more info?

The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation website is the best place to start. Dive deeper with guidebooks available from Road-Tested Bike Tours.

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