A Trail Runs Through Galax, Va.

In the heart of Galax, Va., the southern terminus of New River Trail State Park begins its winding journey along Chestnut Creek before its confluence with the New River. No matter your style of play, this state park offers something for every kind of adventurer. 

Photos by Randy Leagan

The 57-mile rail trail with its gentle slope is perfect for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Experience a section of the trail or a multi-day excursion as you travel along the river, over bridges, and through towns. Thrill-seekers will love the trail network just off the main path at the Hoover Mountain Biking Area. Five loops, all rated easy to moderate, provide hours of fun.  

You can also start your journey at Fries River Park, a great place for picnicking by the water. You might even grab an ice cream cone from the bright red caboose if it’s a hot day. A little more than halfway through your trip, the Foster Falls area is another great place to stop. Here, the park offers canoe and bike rentals, boat launches, a gift shop, and access to the historic town of Foster Falls.  

If you’re planning to bike, stop by New River Trail Outfitters for all of your gear rental needs while on the trail. Their shuttle system makes it easy for you to get back to your car at the end of your trip. If you prefer to be on the water, New River Outdoor Adventures can outfit you with all the equipment you’ll need for the New River. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing float or an all-day paddle, you can rent kayaks, canoes, or tubes for your outing. Pack your rod and reel to do a little fishing along the way or jump in the water to cool off. 

Photos by Randy Leagan

There are several convenient spots to spend a night or two during your visit. The park has three primitive campgrounds—Cliffview, Millrace, and Double Shoals—along the trail, making it easy to set up your tent after a long day on the go. Each site provides a fire ring, picnic table, non-flush toilet, and potable water. For a cozy stay, New River Trail Cabins features 12 comfy stays with direct access to the trail. 

It’s time to pack your bags and head out on a new adventure. Make Galax, Va., your starting point for your New River Trail adventure.

Places to Go, Things to See: