James River North Bank and Buttermilk Loop Trail

MODERATE 205 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.

16 days 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.

26 days 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
26 days 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
28 days 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
28 days ago

I liked it

1 month ago

Really beautiful. Not difficult.

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
2 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
2 months ago

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

nature trips
3 months ago

Such a great urban trail

4 months ago

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

trail running
4 months ago

hiking
6 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
6 months ago

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

7 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
9 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
9 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
9 months ago

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

10 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
10 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
10 months ago

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

hiking
11 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
11 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
11 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.

11 months ago

Great for trail hike or run but be careful!

hiking
11 months ago

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

hiking
Monday, June 05, 2017

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Beautiful morning for a hike around the James River.

hiking
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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

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