Tuesday, June 12, 2018

New River State Park Rail Trail

Southern Virginia New River Rail to Trail State Park is considered one of the Nation’s Premier Rail Trails and has been designated an official National Recreation Trail by the Department of the Interior. In 1986 the Norfork Southern donated its abandoned track for the purpose of this bike trail.  The New River itself is historical in that it is the oldest river in the United States. For all of these reasons, plus the fact that this rail trail is not too far out of the way from Kim and Marc’s, we decided to ride at least part of the 57 mile trail. 

Our plan was for me to start at Galax and Dan would drive up the trail and we would ride toward each other. 

The Galax to Fries Junction section that I started out on is actually not along the New, but along a tributary Chestnut Creek.  Comments on the trail web site led me to believe this was a nice part of the trail to ride.  And it turned out to be exactly that.

First, the trail is flat and well maintained.  Most of the trail is open to horseback riders but there was little evidence of their use.  At first, I rode right along with nice views of the gentle creek.   Soon as more little drainages added to the size of the creek I was excited to find rapids forming and even several waterfalls.  I was along side the creek most of the time, although enjoyed Virginia ranching landscape too. There was a cute little store but I had to pass as I didn’t bring any money.  

I always enjoy the tresles of which there were many.  My favorite, though, are the tunnels.  The one I encountered looked onomous because it was completely dark at the entrance—spooky because I was by myself.  I considered waiting until another trail rider came along, but thought that would be unadventurous on my part so I tentatively started in.  No sooner had I got about twenty steps in than the tunnel curved enough I could see the end.  Still, there is nothing like seeing light at a distance and it being completely dark in front of where I am riding.  It is disorintating and makes me feel like I losing my balance.

Chestnut Creek entered the New River and at that point, there was a beautiful long tresle over the big New River.  So exciting but still no Dan .  I thought I would meet him at the tunnel when we parted.

Turns out the place we made out to meet had a very long a curvy road which did not lend itself to speedy travel.  He mostly missed out on a great ride.


Click here or on the picture for a few pictures and a little movie

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