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Run on the Seven Rails Trail

James River Heritage Trail, Virginia



3 miles

Elevation Gain

117 ft

Route Type



Added by Jordan + Jacki Bolt

Go for a trail run along the James River, without leaving downtown Lynchburg, Va.

Easily accessible from the Percival's Island Natural Area parking lot, the James River Heritage Trail and adjoining Seven Rails Trail are an easy escape from downtown Lynchburg. 

From the parking lot, follow the trail signs toward Percival's Island, which will almost immediately take you across a pedestrian bridge and onto Percival's Island. About a quarter mile in, the entrance to the Seven Rails Trail is on the right, marked by blue paint on the trees, and a brown hiking/biking sign. 

The Seven Rails Trail winds through the woods along the James River. This trail is great for beginning trail runners as it has very little elevation change, but has just enough obstacles and low-hanging branches to keep you on the lookout. The trail runs for about a mile, then returns to the paved James River Heritage Trail. Don't turn around when you get back to the pavement though, as there's another bridge just a quarter mile further with great views of the James River, and if you time it right, great sunsets. In the spring, blue bells are out in full force.

The natural area can be pretty packed during the warmer months, particularly in the evenings and on weekends. Even when the crowds are out, the trail is usually empty.

If you prefer walking, running or biking on pavement, the paved James River Heritage Trail runs the length of the island (approx. 1 mile), and mile markers measure each quarter mile. Out and back, from the parking lot to the bridge on the far end of the island is just over 3 miles.  

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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