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The 7.5-mile, paved Riverwalk Trail is part of Danville's expanding network of trails. This scenic pathway along the Dan River connects industry, beautiful parks and natural areas. It travels through some of the most important and historical Civil War regions of southern Virginia.
Throughout the Civil War, Danville functioned as a staging area for many battles. Some of its old tobacco warehouses were turned into Civil War prisons, and the city was the last capital of the Confederate States of America after Richmond was captured by the Union army.
The trail's recommended starting point is at the Crossing at the Dan trailhead in historical downtown Danville, alongside a renovated tobacco warehouse and the active Amtrak station located in the Science Center. From here, you'll cross the Dan River on a restored 1856 railroad bridge. At the other side, you can go east or west. If you turn left (west), the trail follows the river upstream for about 1 mile along the river until it reaches the beautiful overlook at Union Street Bridge, then continues upstream with access to businesses and restaurants.
However, the best part of the trail lies to the right, on the eastern side. From here, the riverside trail will take you on an enjoyable trip through the many beautiful parks and natural areas adjacent to the Dan River. You'll see a variety of wildlife, including a goose or two using the trail themselves.
Once you pass Dan Daniel Memorial Park, the trail continues to wind along the river through Angler's Park. At the Angler's Park trailhead, you have the option of continuing on the trail segment toward Danville Regional Airport. Although the terrain is hilly from here to the airport, it is the most secluded section of the Riverwalk. It links to the intertwining 25-mile Anglers Ridge single track mountain bike trail system.
To reach the Crossing at the Dan, from US 58 Business in downtown Danville, take Main Street south across the Dan River and make a left on Craghead Street. Follow that for about 5 blocks until you see signs for the train station on the left. The trailhead will be on the far side of the parking lot.
Parking is also available at Dan Daniel Park, 302 River Park Drive, and Anglers Park on Northside Drive.
Took this trail in October for a nice fall ride on a beautiful sunny day. Nicely shaded for the most part. Started at the mid point near the Amtrak Station which is a great place because ample parking and if you don't bring your own bikes you can actually rent them there from a rental locked bike rack! When you cross over the river from the parking lot you can go either left or right onto the trail. We went right (after reading reviews that suggested this) and this was the longer and nicer end of the trail in my opinion. When you get to the park end and have to cross through the parking lot to the restroom building to jump back on the trail, the trail from there is hillier but I actually loved the way it wound through the hills and was very shaded with trees. When we got to the very end of the trail, we rode all the way back and then did the opposite end from were we entered from the bridge. Overall, we did about 20 miles. Was a great ride along the river, with a few little bridges, dams and benches to stop and rest if you choose.
My wife and I took our three kids (4,4,7) on this trail looking for something easy. This trail was great! On the river so lots to look and talk about. Would recommend to families with small kiddos.
There is a lot of parking if you cross the River on Main St. and turn left and then left again in a few blocks. You can bike back across the Main St. bridge and link up to the trail going north and south. There is also a short trail on the side of the trail by the parking lot. The trail is beautiful. It meanders along the course of the river. We rode on a Sunday and there were plenty of people but not a problem.
Pleasantly surprised by this trail! Even more so by the number of riders/walkers/runners using it! The week prior, the community of Danville experienced some severe flooding and you could see the some damage along the trail in the form of cut trees and mud. However, the trail had been cleared. To me, that seemed to be a big priority for the users of the trail. It's very smooth, very flat and very scenic. Yes, you can go off trail ( in our case, into some deep mud, but it was fun) and some short but steep climbs if your goal is to try as many trails off the main one. The locals using the trail were super friendly and very helpful, as there are not any trail maps on the route. What they do have are 2 ( all we saw) bike repair stations and one bike wash station. The bike wash station was just off the main trail that leads you into some of the single track routes. Let's just say, we needed that! Very forward thinking.
Across the river is the old mill district with these gorgeous old red brick warehouses. Although many are empty, you can tell that some are renovated with businesses, shops( auto repair) and lofts. Given some time, and this could be a very vibrant locale.
This was the perfect recovery ride for us, as we had spent Saturday on the VA Creepr and Sunday walking in Asheville. A good ride fort the distance and location to home ward bound driving.
Wow...we were blown away by this fantastic trail system in Danville! We parked at the big recreational park and rode toward downtown, which was amazing! Beautiful railroad bridge over the river leads to the old tobacco warehouse district. Then we went the other way to Angler's park, where we explored a more rural area--huge hills and hairpin turns! The trail is paved, and there are mountain bike trails that branch off--the mtb trails look like a lot of fun too. This is a new favorite trail for us, well worth the trip to Danville!
I went back home to Danville for a visit, I heard about the Riverwalk Trail. My husband and I were so amazed! We just had to go back two weeks latter to experience this trail again, agaain we were just as much amazed again! Wow what a beautiful and fun trail to ride.
This was one of the most enjoyable paved bicycle rides! The entire path is paved and there are optional turns and rest stops. There is a painted centerline that helps keep pedestrians and cyclists to one side or the other, which is nice. I highly recommend this rails-to-trails ride to cyclists of any experience level.
Riverwalk Trail, Danville, VA
Directions to the trail are excellent. Once you get to the parking lot in front of the Danville Community Center, you cross a trestle bridge to the other side of the river and take your bike down a ramp to the river. If you turn right at the foot of the bridge, the trail goes through an industrial area which isn’t the most scenic, but even considering this, the river is still gorgeous. That direction only goes about a mile anyway. But…if you come off the bridge and go left, you’ll experience one of the most scenic rail trails around. I’ve ridden quite a few, and this one is near the top of my list. The first portion of this leg of the trail follows the river, and the city of Danville has put a lot of effort into making it beautiful and enjoyable. There are numerous benches, picnic tables, and pull off areas to enjoy the flowing river, the trees, green grass and geese. About 3 miles along the river you come to a park with a public boat landing. To get a more strenuous ride, cross the parking lot to your right near the picnic pavilion and start up the hill. From this point, the trail inclines about 2 or 3 more miles, but it’s worth the effort. This leg of the trail is just as beautiful as the river ride. Toward the end of this leg of the ride, you’ll cross one road at the intersection of Slayton and Stinson Steets. The trail only goes a short distance past this point. (This is as of April, 2011. I understand they plan to extend the trail in the future). Turn around and ride back down the mountain. It’s fast and fun, and then you can enjoy the river again as you head back to your car. I highly recommend this ride. I try to find a rail trail anytime I’m traveling, and I’m certainly glad I tried this one.
Wow! My family spent the afternoon biking the trail yesterday and were amazed at the beautiful scenery. We parked at Dan Daniel Park and rode all afternoon. It was very beautiful and I was amazed at how well it was laid out and there were places to stop along the way. There were parks, bathrooms, restaurants, historic sites, old bridges, waterfalls and an easy trail to ride! Very scenic. Be sure and bring your camera! This is a real jewel for Danville. We will be coming back soon!!
My wife and I rode the trail today and we were just blown away with the great condition of the trail and how beautiful the scenery is along the Dan River. Lots of waterfowl including geese, ducks and blue heron were easily observed in several locations. In the more wooded areas toward Angler's Park there were numerous native songbirds filling the afternoon air with melodies blending beautifully with the sound of water rushing over the rocks in the river. Several restuarants are easily accessible from the trail on the western end past the dam overlook at Union Street. We dined in one of the restaurants, but taking a picnic would be an attractive option with numerous picnic tables located all along the trail. The trail is paved and easy riding for even the most novice bikers so take the entire family and have a great day.
Jim Walton Stonveille NC
Well, I have to say that I was disappointed with this trail. I guess I had high hopes because it was along the river but it was surrounded by factories and businesses and just wasn't very pretty. It seemed prettier when we rode south of Dan Daniels park but then we came upon a sewage plant that was awful and made us turn back and give up on this trail.
This is really becoming a nice trail as the city, it seems, is always adding just a little more distance. There is now more like eight miles completed. You can go from dowtown Danville almost all the way to the airport now. The last couple of miles towards the airport have some pretty serious climbs. The city is now working on extending the trail on the dowtown side. At the dowtown terminus there is a science museum as well as a beautiful ampitheatre where some good warm weather concerts take place. In addition to the paved portion of the trail, there are several mountain bike trails.
11/29/08 Nice trail The upriver part of the trail actually starts behind a Realty Office just west of the Holiday Inn Express. Lots of parking availble behind the businesses. Also the Super 8 motel is a good place to stay just upriver from there. Bob
A friend and I recently walked the whole length of the trail both directions as part of a volksmarch. It is really a pleasant place to walk. We enjoyed being able to see the water birds on the river and know that we were walking part of a rails-to-trail. Thanks for getting this ready for the public.
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