The James River Heritage Trail; Blackwater Creek Trail

Looking for a little variety, I decided to try the trail the guy I met on Friday mentioned. I waited for the day to warm a little and headed to Lynchburg about noon. The directions to the trail were pretty simple from here. One long shot and one right hand turn and a second, left-hand turn over 48 miles.

When I arrived at the trail, I immediately realized this is a well-loved, well-used trail. It’s nicely cared for with parking and overflow parking, as well as a nice restroom facility at the trailhead. I was beginning at mile 0. The first mile or so was pretty steady downhill and I couldn’t help but that I was going to dread the trip back. At mile 1, the pitch increased significantly, with a few added switchbacks, that made the downhill difficult even on a short wheelbase recumbent. This wasn’t going to be a fun return trip 😡  The obvective, however, was to ride, enjoy and review the trail.

The terrain leveled out. As it turned out, nearly the entire trail is paved. There are several obvious alternate trail options and some less obvious ones as well. I stayed on the primary trail, with a few accidental acceptions. After the steep decline at 1.25 miles, I encountered a parking lot right in the middle of the trail, so I took a left and rode by the creekside, believing this to be the route. It was just a little loop for day visitors, I think, but I was able to make a sharp left and get back on the trail on the other side of the parking lot. Another quick steep little downhill brought me to the bottom of a dam and a very nice crossing of the creek.DSC_0012 DSC_0013 DSC_0014

After this, the ride was more level. There was a point, when the trail came to an overpass and there was a convergence of trails, that I really couldn’t figure out where to go. I headed uphill only to find there was no trail, just city streets. I headed back downhill only to find railroad tracks and gravel. The gravel was the correct alternative. There was a 1/4 mile section that was ambiguous and more of a day park, than an obvious trail. I opted for the Lynchburg streets and hand a nice little uphill pedal on cobbled streets. It’s early in the season for my legs to work so hard, but on the recumbent, it’s very tough to stop quickly from a slow struggle. I was fighting for my dignity! After a couple of blocks through cobbled streets and construction, I found a trail again, took it to it’s head, thinking it continued down the road and re-established itself. The road was busy with industrial traffic and I had no helmet with me, so i turned around, took the trail in the opposite direction, and am very glad I did. It crossed over the creek, or perhaps a river, at this point, giving me a pretty shot:DSC_0024

From here, there were a couple of more miles to the trail, which is technically, a 6 mile out-and-back. There were a lot of people on the trail. I did notice back at the 1 mile marker that I could have taken an alternate which lead to a currently closed train station, but chose not to and perhaps visit that when the station was opened. Upon my return, though, I decided to take an alternate that went under a high trestle. As it turns out, that hooked up with the trail to the station.  In order to get there, however, I got to go through a great little tunnel.Unlike the Big Savage Tunnel, though, it’s paved and lighted. Perfect for a more urban trail. Having had a very nice ride, I headed back. Oddly, I arrived at a very familiar intersection along the way. It was the point at which the trail had become a definite downward hill with the switchbacks! Somehow, I had by-passed that dreaded portion of the trail, but choosing the “adventure” of an unknown alternate. DSC_0039 DSC_0033DSC_0047 DSC_0059I loved the trail. Look forward to riding it with my husband, or other friends. Good things are best when shared.  Along the way, I encountered these giant bugs:DSC_0028 DSC_0029There were also wonderful iron bridges and in places, the original tracks still paralleled the trail. DSC_0026 DSC_0018I’m looking forward to riding this again.

It’s an hour by car to get to the trail, so It will only be for special occasions.


Getting out on this great trail made my feet itch to get back out on a tour. I’ve been researching and see that there is a great 370 mile trail in Canada that is considered a mountain bike trail. It’s the Kettle Valley Trail. I can’t find much on it, except for some journals from some cyclists that did it in 2008. At that time, it presented some serious hazards, so I’d like to find out whether it’s rideable now.There were major washouts and very dangerous, illegal ATV traffic on the trail.

Go make your own breeze and remember: if you’re not having fun; you’re in the wrong gear!


About rivercityweaves

I'm a mom, wife and fiber artist, living in rural Virginia. On days I'm not creating fiber art or teaching others how to, I'm probably saddle surfing on my Bianchi, or laughing with friends.
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2 Responses to The James River Heritage Trail; Blackwater Creek Trail

  1. tootlepedal says:

    You seem to have had an exciting day out.

  2. rivercityweaves says:

    Yes, It puts me in a frame of mind to want to go on another tour. With my husband’s retirement looming, I’m very anxious for us to get out on an extended tour.

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