The Virginia Capital Trail is a fully paved, 51.7 mile trail that connects Richmond to Williamsburg. It is designed to be for everyone from dog walkers to cyclists; beginners to expert visitors are encouraged to enjoy the “Cap Trail.”
To motivate you to get onto the Capitol Trail, try participating in the Summer Challenge running now until September 6, 2021. The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation is encouraging all outdoor enthusiasts to conquer the Capital Trail this summer. Participants can bike, run, walk, roll or dance their way along the Virginia Capital Trail, enjoying the beautiful scenery and sights along the way. Instead of just one 51.7 mile challenge, this year you have the chance at two additional challenges. There is the out-and-back for 103.4 miles or the Capital Trail Birthday Challenge at 310.2 miles (the Capital Trail x 6 in honor of its upcoming 6th birthday on October 2nd).
Before you venture to the trail, here are a few tips:
Five Tips for Attempting the Capital Trail
- Parking: If starting from RVA, parking is available at Great Shiplock Park, Dorey Park (Henrico) or Four Mile Creek Park. If necessary, overnight parking is available in the Main Street Station Parking Lot for $5.
- Bicycle Repair: Should you need your bike repaired during your ride, there are several options along the way. In Richmond, Balance Bicycle Shop on West Broad and Kul Wheels are only two of the five places that can help. Between Richmond and Williamsburg there is Charles City Courthouse Trailhead. And, closer to Williamsburg there are several options. The bike rental/repair map on the Virginia Capital Trail site is essential should cyclists need bike repair or support.
- Attractions: The trail has over 45 attractions, including museums, plantations, parks. In Richmond highlights are: Richmond National Battlefield Park, The Valentine Museum, Belle Isle and more. In Charles City, two popular historical attractions are Shirley Plantation and Edgewood Plantation. Finally, in Williamsburg, enjoy Jamestown Settlement, the horses at Carlton Farms or the beach at Jamestown Beach Event Park.
- Dining: There are restaurants as well as picnic areas throughout the trail. In Richmond, there is no shortage of options as you begin or finish your travels on the Capital Trail: Conch Republic, Buffalo Wild Wings and the Boathouse are only three of the dining options. In Charles City, which is about the halfway point of the trail, Indian Fields Tavern is a popular choice. Lastly, in Williamsburg, Williamsburg Winery, Old Chickahominy House and Carrot Tree Kitchens are just three of ten eateries. To save money, picnics are a great option and there are six venues for just that. Dorey Park is the closest to Richmond; there are three in Charles City and two in Williamsburg.
- Restrooms: Fortunately, there are plenty of places with restrooms or porta-potties for those enjoying the Capital Trail. This map is a fabulous resource, giving the names and addresses of the 10 bathroom stops along the way.
Check out these Capital Trail itineraries! With routes ranging from 2 – 66 miles, there’s something for everyone! https://www.virginiacapitaltrail.org/trip-length-015-miles
As you think of summer fun, be sure to consider the Virginia Capital Trail. With the attractions, restaurants and helpful resources, including the bike repair shops and the comprehensive website, attempting this feat is a great goal even for a novice athlete.
Do you already love the Capital Trail and have time to give to make the route a great place? Then consider volunteering as a Capital Trail Ambassador.
Richmond on the Cheap contributor Lindsay Garrison is a Richmond, Virginia based mom to two young children. A graduate from Chesterfield Schools and Randolph-Macon College, Lindsay is proud to call Richmond home. In the years prior to planning activities and outings with her own children, she was a French teacher. During her tenure she earned accolades for her creative teaching style and ability to connect with her students. Lindsay now applies the skills she learned when she was planning student trips to France, to her own family adventures. She can’t wait to take her own children to France one day! Follow the Garrison’s family adventures on Instagram: @thegarrisonsrva
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