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A Hidden Biking Gem In Covington

Memorial Day weekend, we had a chance to get out and discover some new places to go and experience on our bicycle. The first was Jackson River Scenic Trail out in Covington, Virginia, and the second one we just hit today, and it was High Bridge Trail State Park. Both are extra long and have their own particular beauty. Either one can be accessed on foot or on bike. We actually went to Jackson River Scenic Trail on foot the first time and went back this weekend in order to see more of the beauty of the trail. We were not disappointed.

I originally was going to make this article about both trails, but as I began writing about Jackson River Scenic Trail, I realized that I had more than enough to tell about just this one trail. Therefore, I will go over some of our favorite sites and experiences along this trail.

Jackson River Scenic Trail

Jackson River Scenic Trail Streams

 

Getting here was a bit of a trip. It is right on the border with West Virginia, but you will not be sorry you made the trip, especially if you bring your bikes. It took us about 1 hour and 50 minutes from the Lynchburg area. Our first trip was on foot, and while we enjoyed the scenery, we didn’t have near enough time to see some fantastic sites that were further up the trail.

Once we made the trip on bikes, it was a whole new world, as Aladdin likes to sing. Here are just a few of the sites we saw, and we only traveled about half the length of the 26-mile trail.

Beautiful Waterfalls and Lots of Animals

Waterfalls at Jackson River Scenic Trail

Unfortunately, this picture doesn’t do it justice, but there were several areas where the water was gushing out of the rocks and flowing down to the river. We even saw a garter snake cooling-off from the hot day’s sun. Around another bend, two woodchucks were having a picnic near a picnic table. The amount of water and how much the streams are rushing will probably depend on the time of year and when the last rainfall was. We were fortunate to go there right after several days of rain.

Snake on the trail

Lots of Streams

Stream along Jackson River Scenic Trail

One of the nicest things was that there were so many streams we passed. The trail is also built so that the water passes under it and not through it. One of the interesting occurrences is that because the water is probably flowing from underground somewhere, it acts as a natural air conditioner. We traveled along on a day that was about 82 degrees Fahrenheit for the high, and it felt so refreshing as we crossed over the streams along the way. The air was cool and refreshing, and the water was crystal clear.

This is truly a hidden gem of Virginia. There were only a handful of people we passed on the trail, so we were able to experience riding on the trail without having to contend with bottlenecks or crowded paths. You will have to cross over a few roads, but as we ventured further away from the city, the roads became less busy.

Perfect Place to Test Our New Bike Tow Bar

Trail Gator Bike Tow bar

It was a great place to travel and test out my new Trail Gator Bike Tow Bar that I just bought. My daughter is only 6, so being able to have her go on long rides with us was just impossible until I picked this up. There are several similar items out there, but his one seemed the cheapest and yet most functional by far.

I’ll have to admit it takes a lot of set up to get it right, and you have to make sure everything is on tight, but my daughter loves it. She was able to enjoy her bike while enjoying a nice long ride with daddy and mommy. One of the reasons that we only made it halfway was that this was our first long ride with the bar, and I had to adjust it a bit on the trail. If you wind up getting this, make sure you bring all the tools you need for tightening and tweaking things.

Only Halfway

Map of Jackson River Scenic Trail

You can see from the map that we only made it about halfway, but we did a total of 24 KM. Up until the point we went, it was relatively flat with very mild inclines and declines at the crossing points on roads. I can’t say if the rest of the trail is like that, but I was pleased with what we saw on the first half.

Plenty of Picnic Tables

picnic tables on Jackson River

There were picnic areas spaced out all along the trail. The picture here is not really even the best one. It’s just one of the few I took a photo of. Many times the picnic areas are right alongside the river so you can stop for a break and enjoy the rush of the river as a violin for your meal. The river also helps keep the area a little cooler, which is nice for hot summer days.

Maybe it was the COVID, or perhaps it really is a hidden gem that few people know about, but we saw only a few couples and families out for walks and rides when we visited. If you are out this way or you are looking for a new adventure, especially on a bike, then I cannot recommend this trip more highly.

Directions and More Information

For more information or directions, you can look on their site, Jacksonrivertrail.com. We started at the Intervale Trailhead which can be reached from I-64 by taking Exit 16A towards Covington onto US-60W/220N (Madison St.) From there, you will follow the 220N for 4.2 miles onto Dressler Dr. The trailhead will be immediately on your left.

If you have any questions or you want to talk about your trip, please leave a comment below. From the Fox family to yours, have a very pleasant trip.

~ Jim

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