New River Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Galax City, Wythe County, Grayson County, Pulaski County, and Carroll County, Virginia. It is within Jefferson National Forest. It is 54.9 miles long and begins at 2,158 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 110.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 8,294 feet. New River Trail Parking, New River Trail Parking Lot, and another parking are near the trailhead. The Byllesby School (historical) (elevation 2,096 feet) school can be seen along the trail.
New River Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"A bicycle tour along the New River Trail can take you back fifty or sixty years; it can also take you back more than 100 million years. It all depends on your perspective and the elasticity of your imagination. The New River is the second-oldest river in the world and dates back geologically more than 100 million years. Get out on the trail, scan the water rushing past high rock cliffs, and ponder that. As you pedal you will also see clear, tangible evidence of a once-thriving railroad culture. There are two tunnels and three major bridges to remind you that a railroad once roared alongside the river, rattled across bridges, and roared through these tunnels. There are also abandoned mills and industrial sites to visit. Terrain: originally engineered as a railroad line, the trail is relatively flat with an occasional, slight uphill grade."
--Elizabeth & Charles Skinner, Best Bike Rides in the South (The Globe Pequot Press).
"Linear Park. It has a nice ring to it, and New river Trail State Park is Virginia's only one, all 55 official miles of it. If looking down into the churning white water of a mountain river hundreds of feet below weaken you grip on the handlebar, you'll need to dismount and walk across the trestles more than once. Likewise, if dark gives you anxiety attacks, you may want to travel prepared with a bike light. One tunnel is 229 feet long. The overall length makes riding the entire stretch in one day impractical for most. And the ride along America's second oldest river is too good to rush. So mount the panniers and stow the fly rod and camping equipment."
--Steve Jones, Mountain Bike! The Southern Appalachian & Smoky Mountains (Menasha Ridge Press).
"Following one of the world’s oldest rivers, the spectacular New River Trail—a linear state park—explores an especially remote corner of Virginia, where the river and forest and historical mining tidbits are your constant companions. Surface: Cinder and ballast stone."
--Barbara A. Noe, Rails To Trails: Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia (The Globe Pequot Press).
"Southwestern Virginia's New River Trail follows the 57-mile abandoned railroad bed form Pulaski to Galax with a branch trail that leads to the town of Fries. For nearly 40 miles, this rail trail parallels the banks of the New River, the great grandfather of rivers. The New River is much older than its name might suggest. Flowing south to north, as very few rivers in North America do, the New River has the distinction of being the world's section oldest river. Along the trail, cyclists will cross more than 30 bridges and trestles and cycle through tunnels nearly 200 feet long. The longest bridge in the par, located at Fries Junction, is more than 1,000 feet long and offers dramatic views of the ancient river which courses more than 40 feet below. Scenery unique to Southwest Virginia is visible along the way. The area's rich history of an era long past, with the departure of the railroad, lives on whole-heartedly in the towns and communities that line the trail."
--Scott Adams, Mountain Biking Virginia (Falcon Guides).
"The trail runs from the town of Pulaski to Galax, with a 5-mile spur going to Fries. Scenery includes bucolic farmland, dense woods, rocky cliffs, and 200-foot railroad trestles above the New River. However, this 55-mile point-to-point converted railroad line runs downhill from Galax to Claytor Lake, some 43 miles. For this reason many riders will elect to start at Fries or Galax and, with the help of a shuttle from New River Bicycles, ride to the shop's location at Draper or continue all the way to Pulaski. The ever-changing trail scenery includes waterfront views along the New River; secluded wooded settings on one side and sheer wall of granite on the other; and railroad trestle crossings hovering hundreds of feet above streams such as Cripple Creek. Find out in advance is there is a trail closure between mileposts 17 and 19."
--Randy Porter, Mountain Bike! Virginia (Menasha Ridge Press).
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