James River North Bank and Buttermilk Loop Trail

MODERATE 189 reviews
#1 of 2 trails in

James River North Bank and Buttermilk Loop Trail is a 6.3 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
6.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
482 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.

trail running
2 days ago

Great trail for running. Also mountain biking. Quiet in most sections. Pretty well marked. Nice views of the river. Very wooded so you feel far from the city even though you’re in it.

hiking
3 days ago

Fun urban experience.

11 days ago

Awsome walking trails! Beautiful scenery! However we got a little turned around in certain spots. Just follow the map, you walk down a road a little bit but if you follow the map it will bring you to the rest of the trail :)

trail running
1 month ago

nice trail for hiking or running. watch for glass. multiple times I stopped to pick up glass from broken bottles on the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike considering you are downtown richmond. Not very challenging, but constantly going up and down the river bank which it makes a moderate workout. Great views of the city and river. Great trail

1 month ago

we didnt do the whole trail. the map is not completely accurate, so we missed a few turn offs, but it call connents and is a good hike.

1 month ago

I ended up walking 2 miles down the road next to the trail, getting to the bridge and thinking to myself: “huh, how do i get up there?” I realized I wasn’t even on the trail. I did go back and loop around to it. From what I did complete, it is a nice trail that has a little bit of traffic on the weekends from bikers/runners but nothing to be concerned about. Going to go back and do the full trail soon. Nice area of the city that I would recommend for anyone wanting to spend a few hours outdoors.

2 months ago

I didn’t do the whole thing, but it’s rewarding for short in and out trips. Lots of constant, moderate up and down. Very woody, so a bit buggy.

2 months ago

*****The crossing on the map that appears to be Lee Bridge is actually a footbridge to Belle Isle. If you get lost trying to find the footbridge, just ask a local how to cross to Belle Isle.*****

trail running
2 months ago

ok. awesome trail. loved the adventure. did get lost. most notably was the pedestrian bridge on the north side. if you cross and don't go over the river you are on the wrong bridge. and there is no crossing the river unless you go back. except for good swimmers. 9.5 miles for me.. enjoyed all 3 hours.

hiking
2 months ago

Same as others, we got stuck underneath boulevard bridge because we went to Texas beach on accident. There is no way to cross canal from there. Hike was not that difficult otherwise.

hiking
2 months ago

I liked it

3 months ago

Really beautiful. Not difficult.

hiking
3 months ago

We accidentally followed the trail down Texas beach which doesn’t reconnect to the main trail again. We ended up walking beneath the boulevard bridge, crossing over the train tracks, and going through a hole in the fence near the pump house (by the utility poles with solar panels to the west of the bridge). On our way over the bridge we saw another lost group of hikers standing on the train tracks trying to figure out how to cross the canal so this seems to be a fairly common scenario.

Outside of this problem, it’s a pretty good hike, though I’d definitely recommend novices start on the buttermilk portion rather than the James river. The buttermilk is considerably more difficult and may be too much for some people by the end.

hiking
3 months ago

Great little trail, beautiful scenery and polite richmonders. Great walk for dogs with park system dog fountains at just the right intervals.

mountain biking
4 months ago

I love these trails. They are our "go to" trails for our Sunday guy's rides. Would encourage all mountain bikers to check these trails out. But as some others have said, these trails have climbs and some technical spots. I'm 49 and no mountain biking savant, but in decent shape and have been mountain biking for 30+ years. None of our wives will go on these trails. Some older teens have enjoyed, but younger teens not so much. Check out some sections, give yourself time, HAVE FUN!

hiking
4 months ago

Another great trail that is part of the James River Park System. It’s particularly great in early spring

nature trips
4 months ago

Such a great urban trail

6 months ago

walked several times. good urban trail. highly recommend for midweek morning hike to avoid heavier bike and other hiker traffic.

trail running
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

This loop is a nice moderate workout if you keep up the pace. It’s interesting how the scenery changes with the seasons. Lots of ice in the river today.

hiking
8 months ago

Buttermilk side is way more challenging and given to trail hiking. North side is a lot of flat walking with dreaded gravel stone at times. Good exercise.

hiking
8 months 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
8 months ago

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

9 months 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
10 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
11 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
11 months ago

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

11 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
Monday, July 31, 2017

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.

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