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James River Loop



7.1 mile 11.4 kilometer point to point
96% Runnable


Ascent: 551' 168 m
Descent: -567' -173 m
High: 205' 62 m
Low: 29' 9 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 22% (13°)


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This is a great trail right in the heart of Richmond!

Patrick Kennedy

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Wildlife


Forrest Hill Park Loop is a 3 mile loop with some hills. The Floodwall has some great views and Belle Isle has some great swimming spots. You can also do it backwards. It’s a totally different trail! Enjoy!

Need to Know

There are a few water fountains along the way also but most are turned off in the winter. Watch out for snakes in the summer! There are porta potty’s at a few spots along the way. Some are in better condition than others.


Start off crossing the Nickel Bridge. At the end of the bridge take a sharp right onto the trail. Loop back under the bridge to start the Buttermilk Trail. The next two miles are the most challenging part of this run, then you’ll come upon the Reedy Creek parking area. After another mile or so you'll come to another park entrance keep going straight, go under the bride and follow the path to a sidewalk. Follow the sidewalk to a foot bridge over the trail road tracks.

Go down the steps and cross over the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Walkway Bridge then stay to the left. There is a water fountain in the parking lot ahead. Go straight through the parking lot, up the gravel hill, across a small foot bridge and turn left. You are now on the North Bank Trail. Follow this for two miles or so and you'll come to a parking area, you have to run on the street for 1/2 mile or so. Go up the street and take a left on Kansas Street. Run to the end to reconnect with the trail. Go left, down the hill then run along the canal then up the hill and back to the pump house parking area.

There are some options along the way, you can’t really get lost because you always have the river as a reference. There are also posted maps to guide the way. You can add a few trails to this route and make it 9, 12, even 14 miles with hardly any time on the road!

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May 4, 2019
Jennifer Walker
Mar 25, 2019
Bradley Nemitz

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 7 votes


  4.6 from 7 votes
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in Virginia


57 Views Last Month
1,434 Since Nov 30, 2018



Just the beginning
Oct 29, 2019 near Richmond, VA
View from 21st St. entrance to Buttermilk Trail.  Also access to towpath by the James River and bridge to Belle Isle.
Jan 12, 2016 near Richmond, VA
Me and my pup, on a recent outing to run the buttermilk trail. This photo was taken by the 21st St. entrance.
Jan 12, 2016 near Richmond, VA
James River rapids and skyline from trail bridge.
Jul 9, 2019 near Richmond, VA
Buttermilk Trail
Aug 24, 2019 near Richmond, VA
Downtown Richmond from North Bank.
Jul 9, 2019 near Richmond, VA


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