Jackson River Rail to Trail - Not quite ready for Prime Time- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Jackson River Rail to Trail - Not quite ready for Prime Time

    Two Sundays ago my girlfriend and I took a ride on the Jackson River Rail to Trail. Youíve probably never heard of it because it has not been formally opened. I expected the trail to be open based on some local newspaper articles a couple of years ago.

    We had ridden the stretch from Covington to Smith Bridge Parking area on the Jackson River a year ago and it was in fair shape. This time we started at the Smith Bridge Parking area and canoe ramp and rode North. We were surprised that the county let a subdivision be built in a low floodplain right on the Jackson River. They are putting a lot of faith in Gathright Dam to prevent all flooding. Anything to get up river and up wind of the paper mill and Covington I suppose.

    Immediately we ran into brush along the trail. Shortly after that, the trail opened up.

    As you can see, the trestles are not in the best of shape.

    Our guess was that like everyone else, the county has run short of funds and just hasnít come up with the cash to redo the trestles. We passed over 3 of them, and I believe there are some on the lower stretch too. Still, being careful on crossings we had no problems.


    Taking a break

    M taking a break.

    We came back to civilization at Natural Well. Rt 738 I think. North of this road, the trail has not been cleared and was like backcountry singletrack.

    Beavers been busy

    After this rough stretch, the trail opened up to a beautiful stretch along the river.

    We stopped at the next house up. The trail disappeared completely.

    Crown Grant or Kings Grant land has been in the court for decades. Grants that date back to British empire and give ownership of land and the water therein.

    We saw few posted signs. I would assume we will see many more once the trail is used a lot. I think the railroad right of way is owned by the county, but venturing onto the river bank will likely get the unwanted attention of land owners. The Jackson River is considered one of the best trout streams in Virginia.

    I canít recommend riding this stretch now, but hopefully they will get if finished in the next couple of years. This stretch of trail has some really pretty stretches mixed in with some areas that have homes and fish camps. Sometimes you come uncomfortably close to houses and dogs who arenít used to bikers. This trail should be pretty cool when finished. Still, now its not up to standards that most rail to trail riders would expect.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jclyle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Anybody ridden this or have an update on its condition?

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