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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#40 - James River - Richmond, VA

Richmond's version of a pigeon

With a perfect Autumn day this past Sunday, the options for a beautiful hike were plentiful.Wanting to get out for a 6-8 mile hike, and not be too isolated on such a nice day, Bonnie and I decided to head to Richmond Virginia for the day.

With the James River rolling through the middle of downtown, Richmond is a very interesting city. There are the more traditional urban activities of historic areas, monuments, museums, and shops, however, the surprise comes in the more rural activities all within a birds-eye view of downtown!

Buttermilk and North Bank trails provided us a 7 mile loop that offered wooded trails, the beautiful river, sunshine, wildlife and cityscape. If you're looking for a fun day, you just can't go wrong here.

Getting started at Buttermilk Trail
City hiking!

Farmers stored milk cans in Buttermilk Spring in the 1800's.
The water kept the milk cool for a later sale downtown.

Bonnie taking the high road!

While there is good path maintenance overall, this multi-use path is used by hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers alike! The traffic of bikes was low, but it was interesting to see them maneuver on the few occasions they came by.

Hiker descent (L). Mountain bike descent (R)

Buttermilk trail ended at Boulevard Bridge which offered beautiful views of the James River. A perfect place to enjoy the rocks and river, picnic, and just relax.

Transitioning from Buttermilk path to Boulevard Bridge

Once across the bridge, we arrive at the North Bank trail head. A nice trail with more sun, that transitioned to wooded, winding trails, and back to sun as we made our way back toward the city. Freight trains roared along both banks of the river, moving coal among other things.

With Autumn's arrival, snakes, turtles and other reptiles become more rare, however on this day, we spied a few along the way.

Eastern Painted Turtles

Smooth Green Snake

As we approached the Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge, the city came back into view. From there it was a bridge crossing over to Belle Isle.

Approaching Downtown
Bridge to Belle Isle
Pedestrian walkway to Belle Isle

Beautiful views of the James river and the city of Richmond are provided while crossing to Belle Isle.

Alas, to the Isle! A beautiful place in itself to spend half a day. Access to the rivers' rocks, walking paths, and historical markers abound. It is the final leg of today's hike. We finished our loop from here, 7 miles total. A beautiful day for sure!

The last crossing back to Buttermilk Trail

Keep Hiking, Friends!

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