The Virginia Capital Trail

Last week, I shared my excitement with you for the re-naming of the Ashland to Petersburg Trail, which will now be known as the Fall Line Trail. This is the developing north/south corridor trail in the metro Richmond area, and I can’t wait for it to be finished!

Its companion in the RVA is the well-established Virginia Capital Trail, which runs east/west, and will intersect the Fall Line Trail. The trail ends in downtown Richmond and travels east to Jamestown where it begins. It follows route 5, traversing through a few parks, past plantations in Charles City, and eventually to historic Jamestown.

I’ve run the stretch from Brown’s Island along the canal numerous times in Richmond, and I’ve even run as far as to Varina High School in Henrico County from the city. But this weekend, the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team ran their 20 miler on the trail as a preview to the 2020 Richmond marathon course, starting at Dorey Park.

The marker for the trail from Dorey Park in Henrico County.

Having never been to Dorey Park, I was surprised by how beautiful it is there! Dorey Park is located on the east end of Henrico County. There’s a dog park, a nice playground, a pond that has the most adorable ducks, and real bathrooms.

The pond at Dorey Park.

Since I ran my fall marathon already, I was on bike with my team on Sunday, which was a lot of fun! I had the chance to check on everyone, especially since our route was an out and back. I decided to ride all the way to Shirley Plantation, which by the signage should have been only about a mile past our turnaround. It was actually 3! On my way back to the last water stop at the turn around for our MTT runners, my bike chain popped off. It’s almost impossible to put back on by myself. Fortunately, the trail has enough traffic that I barely waited 3 minutes before someone rode by and stopped to help! I was so grateful!

Catching up to head coach from Pink Nation, Blair, on the trail!

Rarely have I been able to ride and get lost in the activity, but since I was on an off road trail, I got to experience just that. The colors are turning on the trees, there were lots of birds chattering, including bald eagles, and there were creek crossings, too, over bridges. It was such a joy to ride without worrying about getting hit by a car!

A typical stretch along the trail. It’s a 10′ wide, paved path, surrounded by trees and paralleling route 5.

I know I said the Capital Trail is fairly flat, but I have to let you know that it’s really not. There were a few spicy hills, especially approaching Shirley Plantation, which is the actual turn around point on the marathon course. So, be warned if you are running Richmond!

Toward the plantations along route 5.

It may seem like it would be a big mind game to do an out and back on a paved trail, but the scenery really looked different in both directions. And you know how when you are traveling to a destination and it seems long, but the journey back doesn’t? Same way for running this trail.  

Approaching a wooden bridge over water.
One of the many signs along the trail.
Entering Charles City from Henrico!

If you live in the metro Richmond area or in the Williamsburg area and you’ve never visited the Capital Trail before, you really should! And if you’re running Richmond this year, you’re in for a treat! I know that there won’t be huge crowds of people cheering you on, but as far as “virtual” courses go, this one will allow you to not worry so much about cars, and you will love the nature sights! You need to be aware of cyclists, but there are very few places will you will cross a road on the Capital Trail!

The giant bike sculpture at Four Mile Creek Park in Henrico.

Have you ever visited the Virginia Capital Trail? I’d love to hear about your experiences! Are you running Richmond this year? I can also answer questions about the virtual Richmond Marathon experience. As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness, speaking about the human experience, and in fighting for social justice. Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Boco Gear, SaltStick, SPIbelt, Goodr, Noxgear, and Switch4Good.

4 thoughts on “The Virginia Capital Trail

  1. It looks like such a pretty trail to run/ride on! I love how well marked it is. I’m glad someone stopped to help you. That makes me believe there is some faith in humanity still! It’s nice of you to ride along with your runners. I know I’d appreciate that support 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Parts of VA are really beautiful! I’m lucky to live in Richmond, since we are about and hour away from both the mountains and the beach! Plus, we have the James River and one heck of a craft beer industry. Thanks for your comments!


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