Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Chessie Nature Trail is a 7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lexington, Virginia that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 7.0 mi Elevation gain 200 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Kid friendly Fishing Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Running Forest River Views Wild flowers Wildlife Bridge out
Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

The Chessie Nature Trail is a public-access 7-mile long walking trail between Lexington and Buena Vista, along the former Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad right of way. The trail is most suitable for walking and running, as several fixed gates make the trail unsuitable for bicycles. The trail goes through private lands, including and active cattle farms. Exercise caution and respect. Dogs must be leashed at all times. Pack out all litter. The Rockbridge Area Conservation Council brought the trail to the attention of the Nature Conservancy and Virginia Commission on Outdoor Recreation, and in 1978 the Nature Conservancy accepted deed to the property. The deed was transferred to the VMI Foundation Inc. in 1979, and then to Virginia Military Institute in 2009.

VMI Contact: 540-464-7357 Local community groups are encouraged to hold walks or meetings on the trail. A courtesy contact to VMI is welcome, but not required for these kinds of activities. Large or more complex events such as foot races must be coordinated in advance with VMI so as to de-conflict trail use. Any group wishing to hold a trail clean up or other volunteer trail maintenance may contact VMI for support. More information can be found on the Virginia Military Institute's website for the trail at http://www.vmi.edu/chessie.

The Chessie Nature Trail is open to the public. The trail may be accessed from several places including: - North end of the East Lexington Bridge (Rt 11) over the Maury River - Near Mill Creek on Old Buena Vista Rd (State Rt 631), about 0.6 miles East of Rt 11 - Stuartsburg Rd (Rt 608) where the South River Flows into the Maury - The Eastern terminus, Stuartsburg Rd (Rt 608) at Rt. 60

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (80)
Photos (48)
Recordings (50)
Completed (155)
View user's profile page
Sarah Sebastian
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2020
HikingGreat!

My favorite place to run when I’m in the area. Mostly shaded, gravel and flat.

View user's profile page
Pam Frank
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 14, 2020
Hiking

Didn’t walk the entire trail, turned around at the second detour but it is a nice trail with lush vegetation and the sound of the river is always nice even if you can’t see it. Lots of goose poop and cow poo to avoid but the cows are cool and the birds, deer and other wildlife are nice companions. There good at practicing social distancing!

View user's profile page
Dolan Harrington
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 2, 2020
WalkingPrivate property

Easy nature walk with pretty views. The trail is closed around the fourth mile, so round trip it’s closer to 6-7 miles

View Dolan's Recording
View user's profile page
Christine Ross
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 6, 2020
Hiking

My boyfriend and I decided to explore this trail on Sunday (03/05/2020). The trail is mostly flat with dirts/small rocks), there is some little incline. There are some paths off from trail, downwards incline to get closer to river. Some of those were not too bad and some were not safe. That comes instincts and judgements to determine if you can safety maneuver those off trail’s paths. This was quite long walk, we were able do halfway and have to walk back to car due to potential rain that was coming. We plan to come back and try to complete while trail one day.

View user's profile page
Krissy Reynolds
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 25, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail with lots of flora! Muddy in some spots and there are some cow patties at the halfway ish point. The historic rail locks are cool!

View user's profile page
Luis J Rivas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2019
RunningPrivate property

Lovely trail, mostly shaded. Cattle in the private areas are calm, lots of manure to avoid when running. Gates are easy to open/close, just push or pull as needed. Flat EXCEPT for a short stretch to bypass a closed segment.

View user's profile page
Joe Kinnan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 16, 2019
Hiking

Nice and easy. Former Railroad Bed. river runs along side and there are some steep cliffs beside the trail.

View user's profile page
Jamison S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2019
Running

Great trail if you are looking to build fitness or run fast. Well-maintained, wide, and flat.

View user's profile page
Jackie Hoffman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 10, 2019
Running

Can’t say enough about how much I love this trail. It’s gorgeous, and long enough to get some decent mileage. Very clean and save. Also flat, with amazing sections of scenery. LOVE this trail!

View user's profile page
Mark Paden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 26, 2019

Great walking trail! Easy walk along the river!

View user's profile page
Jeffrey Hand
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 27, 2019

Easy trail, good scenery.

View user's profile page
Kelly McDowell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 22, 2018
Walking

great flat walking trail.

View user's profile page
Alana Babington
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 30, 2018

Best place to walk or run in Lexington!

View user's profile page
Mary Cascio
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 18, 2018
Walking

great trail near the city of Lexington. We didn't get far because our dog is not dog friendly. good place for biking, walking or river viewing. benches available along the trail

View user's profile page
Tom Jacoutot
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 17, 2018
Nature trips

I would give it 5 stars except for the gates

View user's profile page
Jen Anderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 29, 2018
Walking

Pretty trail along the river. The trail is large and well maintained. It’s flat and not heavily trafficked. You are about 30 feet from a river to one side and have beautiful trees and rock walls on your other side. Very easy trail for all skill levels.

View user's profile page
Alicia Almassi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 21, 2018

Wonderful trail. My family and I enjoyed our time walking on this trail. Great for small kids. Our children are 7 and 5

View user's profile page
Greg Courchane
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2018
Mountain biking

The cows and gates are half the fun. We rode mountain bikes and enjoyed the ride. Don’t do this on a road bike

View user's profile page
Sam Reynolds
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 18, 2017

nice easy walk

View user's profile page
Karen Fravel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 27, 2017
Road biking

Nice trail. Not very crowded. Cows were friendly.

View user's profile page
Afton Fisher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 29, 2017
Mountain biking

Fun family adventure with little ones.

View user's profile page
Roben McCullough
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 19, 2017

Easy walking trail. Lots of spring wildflowers! Beautiful scenery. We walked through gated private property with cows, and the cows were laying on the trails. We just walked around them . They didn't bother us. The trail follows the water most of the time. Geese were fighting in the water over a female. That was interesting. Well maintained.

View user's profile page
Becca Stratton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 11, 2017
Walking

Nice walking, running trail. Wide trail. Goes through some cow pastures so watch your step. Great starter trail or a just need to get out. Pet friendly.

View user's profile page
Becky Foreman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2016
Walking

I haven't done all of this trail yet and am only in this area for a week, so don't know if I'll get to hike it all, but I did do a 5 mile RT hike on it this evening and it's beautiful. Very well maintained. Mile markers every 1/2 mile. Beside the river. Rock walls next to the trail. A few other walkers and runners, but a nice respite from people and cars. Birds singing.

View user's profile page
Melanie Bray
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 10, 2015

great trail for pets...plenty of trails leads to the water to cool them down and even allow them to go for a swim.

View user's profile page
Sills O'Keefe
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 14, 2015

Always lovely. Great for younger kids.

View user's profile page
Lauren Howard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 22, 2015

Super flat, easy, wonderfully scenic, lots of swimming holes along the first few miles!

View user's profile page
Darrell Loudermilk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 23, 2015
Walking

A fun, casual, easy 7-mile walk with lots of changes in the scenery. I walked from Lexington to Buena Vista, traveling along the Maury River for the first half of the trail. At one point you pass under the interstate and then begin coming to a number of gates, as the trail crosses private land. Right of way is granted to trail walkers. On the half of the trail closer to Buena Vista, be prepared to share the trail with lots of cows. They can be intimidating if you haven't spent much time around cows, because they're so large. But you'll find that they're docile and disinterested, and that they'll generally walk off the trail as you get closer to them. If they don't, just walk around them. The farmland and pasture areas that the trail crosses are just as beautiful as the mountain and river areas, just be prepared to step over and around a little manure. OK, a lot of manure. The trail is very popular, and on a warm day you'll be sharing it with a number of running students, older folks, children, dogs, and other animals.

View user's profile page
Mike Michael
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 26, 2015

A scenic, wide, easy, flat, well maintained trail with wildlife and a river that parallels it most of the way. Has a fair amount of foot traffic and dogs (some of which are on leashes.) Has maybe 80% tree cover, so it makes for shady walking when leaves are on the trees. There are several benches along the way for when you want to take a break. The trail is shared with (2) farmers where beef cows & bulls are kept. Haven't experienced or heard of there being problems w/ bull attacks though.

View user's profile page
David Skelding
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 13, 2013
Hiking

very nice trail system with great scenery. many people use this trail for hiking , biking and running. Flat trail system.

Showing results 1 - 30 of 80