Virginia Capital Trail
Virginia Capital Trail
4.5
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4.5
127 reviews
Excellent
102
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SpanishteacherMD
Ellicott City, Maryland1,642 contributions
Jun 2022
Incredible scenery, a wonderful experience. Whether you walk, jog, run, or take the dog for a hike, anywhere on this trail is fantastic. My wife and I had a chance to experience Belle Isle (part of the James River park system) and Brown's Island / Manchester by crossing the T. Tyler Potterfield Pedestrian Bridge, you have to give yourself at least half a day, if not more to walk, walk and walk. Bring a camera and your walking shoes. This trail, no matter where you pick it up, is worth every minute you spend on it. Tons of beautiful scenery, awesome views and wheelchair accessible. A perfect opportunity for everyone to enjoy Richmond and all the Virginia has to offer.
Written June 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tim M
Severn, MD52 contributions
Aug 2020
First time here.... started at the Great Shiplock Park and walked to the downtown area. Really scenic. Lots of activity and this would be a great pace to ride bikes or roll along on a skateboard - both things I'll consider for next time!
Written August 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sienna Kennedy
Richmond, VA13 contributions
Mar 2021
I use the trail ALL the time. I am a walker, runner, cyclist. It's seriously the BEST thing our community could have done. I can't count the number of times I've gone from Richmond to Williamsburg (and sometimes back, but usually we meet with friends that drive us back & hang out in Carytown the next day). Whoever decided to build this trail should get an award!
Written March 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bdaygirl
Virginia Beach, VA1,371 contributions
Jun 2020 • Couples
Beautiful 75 degree day got us out on the trail from mm 20-30. We parked at the Charles City courthouse since it has bathrooms. Good combination of sun and shade but those corn fields can be pretty windy. Mostly flat but the hills increase the closer you get to Richmond. There are more benches along the way now than has been previously mentioned. We stopped for the live music on the lawn at Indian Fields Tavern. Highly recommend the Cuban sandwich and the fries that are the real deal! Also suggest making the turn for Westover Church. Nice shady spot for a snack break with amazing Magnolia trees and an old cemetery.
Written June 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mns49
33 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
Excellent surface area on the whole trail. Runs along highway five. The reason for 4 stars, not enough bathrooms along the trail. Many miles between them.
Recommend you stopping at Spoke + Art while in Williamsburg. And Indian Tavern Restaurant in Charles City. Enjoy the ride!!
Written August 4, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hugh J
Albany, NY12 contributions
Mar 2018 • Solo
I biked just about all of the 52 mile Virginia Capital Trail at the end of March. I saw a window for great spring weather, living about 500 miles north of the trail. I had done a little of biking on the Trail in December and wanted to bike most, if not all, of it.

The trail was overall in amazing shape. Aside from a little crack in the pavement where construction was going on, and a little glass near the Richmond end, there was very little to give you flats and it was smoothly paved.

It is a good thing that the risk of flats is lower than on most roads. Once you leave Richmond, there are only a few amenities. I passed a 7-11 about 4 miles into the trail and little else.

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the trail is in the very beginning as you are riding underneath a train trestle. A large freight train was on this trestle. If it had derailed I might not be doing the review. Oh well, this setup does not last long, a half mile or less.

I parked at the very first area where the trail begins in downtown Richmond. You have to pay to park here, but only 6 dollars. It gave me peace of mind that my car would be safe. However, about a mile or so from this huge parking lot on East Cary Street, is a much smaller parking area called The Ship Yard. I am pretty sure this is a free area, much nicer than the first one, but since it is smaller, it is more likely to be filled up, especially on the weekend.

There were very few road crossings, and all of them were relatively safe. However NEVER assume motorists will stop for you, most did not for me.

Heading east, you run into two parks, one called Dorey one the other Four Mile Creek Trail Head. You can park at these parks as well. The first park is actually a little off the trail. Very nice but the water fountain was not working. The second park, Four Mile Creek, is right on the park but it had no water although it had a great large replica of a bike.

Much of the time you are riding near St. Route 5. This has both advantages and disadvantages. At times the road is so close that if a car wiped out it could hurt. However if something really bad happened to you on the trail, you could theorectically flag down a vehicle. However, once you entered into Charles Count (City) you will notice it will become remote with few cars and even fewer cyclists. I did this on a week day so likely there would be more on the weekend, especially later in spring.

I tried to find the Portbella Ristoriante which was listed on the map. However I never did find it, but found another called "The Fork" which was not labeled on the trail map even though it was right across the street from the trail around mile 37. It turned out to be very nice, reasonably price and the owners were friendly. It might have been the highlight of the bike trip. There are plenty of places to park and lock your bike at this place.

If you want some barbecue there is a barbecue place in Charles City. Beware this is NOT a city as most of us know it. It consist of a few buildings, a place to go to the bathroom and the barbecue place. This isa little more than halfway to Jamestown from Richmond.

After that, there is not much on the trail heading east, until you cross the bridge into James County. As you do, there will another park to your left. In James county you will run into a few places to get food or drink until the end of the trail at Jamestown Settlement.

There are lots of historical plaques along the trail. However there are few places and benches to stop (outside the parks mentioned). There is over 20 mile range with no parks. There are historical plantations but many of these are up to a mile off the actual trail.

The trail is NOT entirely flat. While the hills are small, there are fair amount of them, especially from Richmond into Charles County. Some of the hills are surprisingly steep but again they are short.

There is a B and B, called the Edgewood Plantation. It is not cheap and I decided not to stay there. The problem while it is located nearly in the center of trail, there is NOTHING around it, and you would have to drive to dinner. The owners offered to drive you to a few places if you came by bike.

So if you plan to do this trail in two days you can start in Williamsburg but likely would bike to the start. Or you could start in downtown Richmond where there are plenty of places to stay, most not cheap. The Edgewood Plantation is another option. One last one would be to go to Hopewell VA, about 20 minutes away. There are various hotels right off the highway there. I stayed at the Econo Lodge but would NOT recommend it. Stay at the Marriott Suites or Qaulith Inn located nearby. There are a few places to eat in Hopewell, I ate at El-Nopal Mexican Restaurant. It turned out to be pretty good and NOT expensive. There is an Italian and Barbecue place in this town. If you stay at one of the places off the highway, you will be able to walk to the aforementioned restaurants with no problems.

If you plan to ride this trail, enjoy but bring a generous amount of water and food in case the two restaurants are not open and it is going to get hot. Make sure your cell phone remains charged. You never know!
Written April 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Elizabex
Washington DC, DC29 contributions
Apr 2017 • Couples
We rode from Jamestown-Richmond and back last week. Drove down from Northern Va Monday morning, parked at the Jamestown Settlement visitor center (very easy), were on our bikes by 11:30, stopped at Cul's Courthouse Grill for a leisurely lunch and got to Richmond around 6. Based on a previous reviewer, we stayed at the Lindon Row Hotel about 2 miles from the trailhead. Fabulous hotel-historic building and grounds, great location just a mile or so from the waterfront/downtown and has a convenient café onsite with wonderful breakfast and lunch options and great draft happy hour.
We spent the night Monday night and then enjoyed walking Richmond the next day. Enjoyed Hollywood Cemetery and Belle Island (bring your bathing suit and walk around the island to find the more hidden swimming spots).
Enjoyed fantastic meals at Secret Sandwich Society and Tarrants Café (both very close to Lindon Row).
Got back on our bikes around 9 Weds morning to ride back. We had plenty of food left over from the ride up so just stopped at Haught's Country Store around mile 19 for cold drinks and snacks and had a picnic lunch trailside. Arrived back at Jamestown around 4.
We are in moderate shape-recreational riders a few times a month and found the trail very doable. It's mostly flat for the first 25 miles outside of Jamestown and then rolls as you get closer to Richmond. Two big hills as you get close to Richmond - fun to go down and not too hard to ride up.
It's a wonderful trail that goes through a variety of landscapes-wooded areas, fields, along busy streets, etc. Wonderfully marked with mile markers and easy to navigate (in our excitement we missed the first turn about a quarter mile from the trailhead in Jamestown - turn left-don't go straight-but otherwise we found the trail easy to follow).
We took it pretty leisurely and enjoyed the entire time on the trail.
Written April 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nancy C
Durham, NC4 contributions
May 2019 • Friends
My cycling friend and I have wanted to ride this trail for a while and carefully planned our trip to ride the entire length of the trail. Since I no longer enjoy riding on the roads due to too many near misses from distracted drivers, this trail looked like a great opportunity for a nice ride on a smooth paved trail that was more than 20 miles long. It did not disappoint. The trail was not overly crowded and provided a smooth surface for road bikes. We started in Richmond and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Inn which is only about 2-3 blocks from the trail head. We paid to park in a garage, $14 for over night. There is a free lot located at the Lower Stone Brewing Parking Lot that we were told is safe for overnight parking. Along the route there are many historical markers describing the various battles from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars which we found interesting. Sometimes the markers were across the highway that is adjacent to most of the trail but you can easily cross to read them. We stopped for lunch at the Cul's Courthouse Grill just before the lunch crowd arrived. The food and service there was excellent! By the time we were ready to ride again, the place was packed. They willingly refilled our water bottles with ice water and we continued on. Much of the trail had some tree cover and since it was a warm and sunny day, it was pleasant. We stopped at Chickahominy River Front Park after riding over the bridge to have a snack and rest. Then we rode the rest of the way to the Jamestown Settlement. It was a great day. We had made arrangements to stay overnight at the Wedmore Place at the Williamsburg Winery after seeing that it was the closest hotel to the trail head. When making our reservations, we were assured it was an easy 5 mile ride to the inn but they did not provide directions and recommended using Google Maps. This was our mistake. We selected the bike option on the Google Map app and it took us on a route that is NOT recommended. After riding 5 miles and being told to make turns onto nonexistent roads, we contacted the inn. They were worthless and did not have ANYONE who could help us. They promised to try to find us some answers and they would call us back. They did not. We then offered $20 to a stranger in a pick up truck who was leaving the beach for a lift to the winery. He got us safely to the winery and refused the $20. We then had to find the inn on the grounds. It required traveling a road with peeble-type gravel which is not safe to ride on. Sadly, after over 60 miles, 5 of which were on a cobblestone road, I knew better than to ride on that type of surface but did anyway and took a nasty fall which resulted in the worst road rash I have ever had due to the peebles embedding into my arm and leg. Once at the inn, the management leaves much to be desired. It is nicely decorated, the wine tasting at the winery is fun, but the rooms are not quiet (the baby crying upstairs and the pacing to get it to stop twice in the middle of the night was not enjoyable). The restaurant requires reservations, they were full. We used Uber to go to dinner but cell service is spotty.
Breakfast was delayed due to staff not showing up. After complaining to management about how poorly we were treated, they offered to give us a "to go" box of breakfast but the first bagel they offered was moldy and the muffins they did give us were stale. They then asked us to let them "make it right" and the manager's husband did transport us to the trail head. We gave them some suggestions if they are going to continue to promote their establishment to folks riding the trail. We hope they listen. Management did call us and did not charge us for the room. My friend then rode the full length of the trail back to Richmond while I used the Cap Trail Shuttle which I highly recommend. I was picked up at the Jamestown Settlement trail head and transported to the Stone Brewing Parking Lot. My driver was Tim and he was filled with suggestions for better enjoyment of the trail. There are some convenience stores near the trail as well as some plantations that are within a mile or 2 to visit. There are no water fountains and few bathrooms other than in the stores. That said, I really did enjoy the actual trail and it was a great ride.
Written May 28, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

J S
North Potomac, MD5 contributions
Oct 2019
We had been wanting to check out the trail for a while, so finally committed to a beautiful fall day. We drove down from DC (less than two hours) starting around 7 am. Our parking destination was Dorey Park, which has tons of fields/activities/events and parking options. From there, we biked to the trail head, which is around mile marker 43 or so. The trail condition was fantastic - smooth pavement, some nice wooden bridges, rolling past forest areas, the VCU Rice River Center, bales of cotton, and a couple of plantations (well... plantation signs). Our goal was an out-and-back for a total of about 40 miles, with a turnaround destination at the Indian Head Tavern around mile marker 23, where we hoped to stop for lunch. Lucky for us, right as we started looking for the Tavern, they were putting out the Open signs, so we turned right in for lunch. It's a nice little tavern with both indoor and outdoor seating, super friendly service and delicious food (we don't usually have fried food, but indulged in some fried pickles and they were awesome). During lunch we scouted out the Upper Shirley Winery and Plantation, which was about 10 miles away en route back to Dorey Park (really about 8.5 miles on the trail, plus a mile down the road to the plantation). It was also lovely, with a huge building sporting wide front and back verandas (this is a big wedding venue), but also a wide expanse of patio and picnicking grass areas in the back, with some nice outdoor lounge furniture, fire pits, and a trailer camper from which they sold their wines by the glass or bottle and a pre-packed picnic basket. We stopped in for some wine and to listen to the jazz trio. We did feel a little awkward walking through the actual building in our bike jerseys - it felt so elegant that we almost turned around to leave, but finally found the "backyard". If you are in bike gear, might be better to just walk around the sides of the building directly to the yard (unless you want to do a wine tasting, which is in the main building). After about an hour here, we got back on the bikes for the last 12 miles back to the car, where we arrived around 2:45 pm. We did opt to stay overnight at one of the airport hotels, but drove the short distance into Richmond for dinner at the Boathouse in Rocketts Landing, which was another nice experience; however, we certainly could have just as easily driven back to DC in time for dinner. I highly recommend checking out this trail and making a lovely day of it! Visit those local businesses too - they made the experience special.

Who we are: two age 50+ people who love bike tours, reasonably fit
Temperatures on the day we rode: started in the low 50s in the morning, but rising to the 70s in the afternoon. Recommend layers for the ride, including gloves.
Written October 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KRKTravel
Franklin, TN131 contributions
Apr 2017 • Couples
We're casual bikers - ride often but seldom more than 15 miles at a time. This trip was a "destination" for us, with another couple. We were very pleased with the condition and safety of the trail - more like one would find in Holland or Portland - complete with bike-sized stop signs at intersections. We made it a 2 day trip and slept overnight at the Edgewood Plantation (reviewed elsewhere). Perfect plan! There are lunch stops and interesting historical attractions all along the way. The history alone is worth the trip - so much has happened along this 50+ mile path through the countryside! I didn't seek anything official on this but it seems like riding from Richmond to the east has more downhill than up! Serious cyclists will laugh at that - but we appreciated the gravitational support :-)

Written May 14, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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