When it comes to family fun, nothing beats getting outside and riding your bikes together out in nature. If your child is still learning to ride, some of these might be a bit challenging. Not because of the slope but because of the length. I recommend getting a tow-bar for your child’s bike. That way they can enjoy the trip with you and they still are pedaling and getting exercise as well. The one pictured below is called a Trail Gator tow bar. It took some setting up and adjusting, but it has allowed us to travel all over Virginia with our bikes. I really recommend it.
Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail
The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail is one of the shortest routes listed here. It is 7 miles in length if you start at the main trailhead in Piney River on SR 151, Patrick Henry Highway. It is great for hiking, biking, and horseback riding year-round. Restroom facilities are available at both the Piney River trailhead and the Roses Mill trailhead. The trail is covered with crushed stone and mainly follows along Piney River. You will see many farms and scenic areas along the way. If you are going in summer or fall make sure to bring the bug spray as some areas can get a little marshy. If you are going to dot the entire trail plan on a 14-mile round trip as there is no exit at the Tye River Depot. This trail, like many on this list, covers the remains of the original Virginia Blue Ridge Railway.
High Bridge Trail
This trail is quite a treat for the kids as it crosses the High Bridge which is 125 feet over the Appomattox River. The entire trail is 32.4 miles but if you are walking or just want to ride into Farmville I would recommend parking at the Camp Paradise parking lot and you will only be .3 miles from the bridge. Once you have seen the tops of the trees and marveled at the hawks or owls that are sometimes around you can keep going for a nice 4.5 mile ride to downtown Farmville.
New River Trail
New River Trail is a 57-mile state park that stretches from the town of Pulaski down to Galax. It follows along the scenic New River for about 39 miles. About midway between the beginning and end of the trail is Shot Tower. Be prepared for scenic river views and the chance to see lots of horses and wildlife along the way. This was by far the longest trail we have been on but the gentle slope made it easy to bike along.
Blackwater Creek Trail
Blackwater Creek Trail is the only trail listed here that isn’t a state park. It’s right in the Fox family’s backyard in Lynchburg and there is a bike store right near the Percival Island parking lot. If you don’t have your own bike then you can rent one right along the trail. You can also access the trail from a few other spots but the second most used entrance is the Awareness Garden entrance. This 3-mile trail was also built on top of an old railway bed. It is fairly flat but there are a few challenging hills near the downtown area.
Jackson River Scenic Trail
I’ve saved the best for last with the Jackson River Scenic Trail. 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 amazing sites that were further up the trail. We went back and enjoyed the roaring river next to us and the many cool streams that flowed from deep in the mountain and down to the river. It is like a natural air conditioner. The 14.4 mile path slopes gently enough that it is perfect for a family ride.
See the map below for directions and more interesting facts!