James River North Bank and Buttermilk Loop Trail

MODERATE 157 reviews
#1 of 2 trails in

James River North Bank and Buttermilk Loop Trail is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Richmond, Virginia that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
472 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

road biking

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

The Reedy Creek parking area is on Riverside Drive at Hillcrest Road.

hiking
1 month ago

As a Richmond native this is my go-to trail for when I want something that's gonna be some work and involve some time, but not take all day. Some parts are more or less scenic than others, and some parts are easier or harder to navigate than others, but it's pretty consistent and enjoyable. You'll definitely see a fair amount of other people, but I wouldn't really call it crowded.

trail running
1 month ago

Excellent trails .. fun obstacles ...great time!

1 month ago

lovely! I got lost around Lee Bridge. Couldn't find the Belle Isle footbridge. Found my way eventually. Gorgeous trail, nice fellow hikers and bikers, dog friendly. Will do again.

hiking
3 months ago

Arrived around 830 on a beautiful Saturday. No problem finding a spot in the Reedy Creek parking lot. Challenging trail with lots if up and done. Narrow trail so keep an eye out for cyclists. Everyone was great about sharing the trail. Easy to follow. The only part that confused us was walking across the Lee Bridge. there is no walking bridge. Once you come off the bridge, James River Park is immediately on your right. The stone fence is a perfect place to rest before jumping back on trail for the last 2-3 miles.

One negative to this trail is that there are not many spots to pull off to rest or take a break.

Look forward to coming back and doing it again.

mountain biking
4 months ago

My review is purely based on the rating. This is a great 5 star trail but....................should be rated as difficult for mountain biking. I am not a beginner and would consider myself moderately experienced at my rip age of 47. My 10yr old son and wife however are not as experienced and I ended up carrying their bikes up many challenging hills. I kept my head up but should have listened to the wife and turned around in the beginning and gone some place else. The trail is very hilly up and down, up and down along the river. The trail is narrow which is not a big deal but there a lots of very large roots, rocks and boulders. We did the complete trail (both side of the river) and I would do it again as a challenge for myself but I will never take the wife back. I'd take my son back when he gets older and more experience. Some parts are easy but I would say 50% is very difficult and 50% is easy.

trail running
4 months ago

Richmond has so much to offer and this trail and its sub-trails are a great example.

4 months ago

Portions of the trail were not clearly marked and I would rate this more as a low moderate rather than easy. We managed to hike the loop with a 3 1/2 year old and a 1 year in a backpack and managed but there was definitely some difficulty.

trail running
5 months ago

Great route to run that is easy to follow and has a large variety of terrain. I would highly recommend everyone in town to at a minimum hike these to see Richmond from another perspective.

For those that want to push, the entire loop is runnable with most ascents and descents not lasting too long. Nothing overly difficult to run over either along the way.

trail running
5 months ago

Well paved and interesting route, easy to make it a loop and increase your distance with Belle Isle and buttermilk trails!

hiking
6 months ago

Great loop, I would agree it is more at the low end of moderate than easy because of certain stretches but nothing truly difficult. Really pleasant hike with lots of different scenery and a good workout.

walking
6 months ago

This is an incredibly beautiful trail. One word of caution however: this trail is rated as easy even though half of it is the buttermilk trail which is, according to this site, moderate. I was not prepared for the terrain on the buttermilk trail, but still made it around the loop! The bikers were all friendly and able to share the trail. We went slowly, savoring the sights and sounds, and made this a four hour tour.

hiking
6 months ago

I enjoyed hiking this diverse loop. It has a fun mix of wooded sections, bridges, a little bit of elevation and rocks. We got to the Reedy Creek parking area about 11AM and were luck to get a spot. After completing the loop I saw there were a ton of cars outside the lot in residential streets. Parking could be an issue here. There are other lots you could park in to complete this loop including the north side of Boulevard bridge and the north side of the Belle Island bridge.

6 months ago

Great for trail hike or run but be careful!

hiking
6 months ago

Easy trail. Lots to see. Be smarter than me and don't do this on a day with 95% humidity.

hiking
7 months ago

Definitely a bit more challenging than "easy", but really fun. Lots to see.

7 months ago

Beautiful morning for a hike around the James River.

hiking
8 months ago

Great trail did the entire trail got in some great cardio skill levels are marked on the trail if you want to add some difficulty didn't like the markings for directions after the bridge by the boulevard kinda got lost but otherwise great

hiking
9 months ago

Great trail for hiking just be careful to lookout for bikers and be sure to avoid the poison ivy!

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful trail. Good for jogging and mountain biking.

mountain biking
10 months ago

Great trail right in the middle of the city! Can get a little crowded on the weekends and bikers need to be careful. You will occasionally run into an off-leash dog. As a biker and dog lover I would hate to cause any harm so I try to nicely ask the owner to leash their pup. Buttermilk west of Reedy Creek is probably the most technical part of the trail and a ton of fun!

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