New River Trail State Park

Quick Facts

New River Trail State Park

Virginia

(276) 699-6778

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

This is a 57-mile long state park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. There are several entrances into this park. The park meanders through Grayson, Carroll, Wythe and Pulaski counties in southwestern Virginia and parallels the scenic and historic New River for 39 miles. This park is part of the Rails to Trails Program as it was donated to the state by Norfolk Southern Railroad when the railroad discontinued the line and removed the tracks. This park also serves as a link to numerous other outdoor recreational areas, including a town park in Fries, Mt. Rogers National Recreational Area, the Dannelly Fitness Complex in Galax, four Department of Game and Inland Fisheries boat launches and Shot Tower Historical State Park. New River Trail is minutes from Claytor Lake State Park. This unique park features 57 miles of continuous trail.

New River Trail State Park has been designated an official National Recreation Trail by the U. S. Department of the Interior. The park parallels 39 miles of the New River, which is one of the world's oldest rivers and among a handful of rivers flowing north.

In December 1986, Norfolk Southern Corporation donated a 57-mile tract of abandoned railroad right-of-way to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the establishment of a new state park. Because railroad tracks had previously been on the strip of land, the cinder roadbed needed very little grading. With the help and support of volunteer groups and chambers of commerce in the region, the park was able to open in May 1987 with four miles of trail. Since then approximately 57 miles of the park are open to the public.

Features of the park include: Two tunnels: 135 feet and 193 feet long Three major bridges: Hiwasee - 951 feet; Ivanhoe - 670 feet; Fries Junction - 1,089 feet Nearly 30 smaller bridges and trestles A shot tower used more than 200 years ago to make ammunition Park Size: 765 acres. Width averages 80 feet; length from Galax to Pulaski, 51.5 miles; Fries Branch, 5.5 miles; the total length is 57 miles.

Map of New River Trail (VA)

Latitude, Longitude: 36.716871, -80.978766

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Activities

  • Boating

    The newly renovated Foster Falls Canoe Livery is open on weekends from the first Saturday in April through Memorial Day, then open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day, and open on weekends again Labor Day through the last Sunday in October. The livery rents canoes, kayaks, tubes, bikes and safety equipment, and it offers shuttle service, snacks and drinks.

  • Bicycling

    This unique park features 57 miles of continuous trail, all of which is accessible by bike.

  • Camping

    New River Trail State Park has four primitive campgrounds: Cliffview, Millrace, Baker Island and Double Shoals. There's no vehicular access to the campsites and no showers or bathhouses.

    Cliffview Campground (Carroll County near Galax) is a trailside campground with primitive tent camping only. It overlooks Chestnut Creek. Access is from the Dannelly Fitness Complex parking lot and across a footbridge (no direct vehicle access). Ten primitive campsites are available. Three horse campsites are available with an enclosed area for the horses. There are no covered stalls. Horse campers must park trailers at the Cliffview Ranger Station, which is about one mile from the campground. Horses may not cross the Dannelly complex footbridge. Note: This campground is 24 miles from the Millrace Campground. Running water at Cliffview Campground is shut off November through March. Customers must bring water during that time.

    All sites are timbered and marked. Each site has a fire ring, lantern post, picnic table, access to the New River Trail and non-flush toilet. Drinking water is available. One site, CV001, is accessible and is reserved last if not required for an accessible camper.

    Reservations are required. Same day reservations are permitted. Campers must leave their confirmation letter on their car's dashboard for overnight parking. Campers will need access to a fax machine or will need to pick up the letter at the Cliffview office if there is insufficient time to receive the letter by mail.

  • Fishing

    This linear park parallels a 39-mile stretch of the New River. The river supports outstanding populations of just about every major freshwater game fish in the state. You'll find smallmouth bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, striped bass, white bass, hybrid striped bass, muskellunge, walleye, black crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, yellow perch, redbreast sunfish and bluegill.

  • Hiking

    The trail is 57 miles in length, and is accessible at its ends in Galax, Pulaski, and Fries as well as at many points along the trail that offer parking. These include Foster Falls, Shot Tower and Cliffview. The trail is made of fine gravel and earth and is fairly smooth, allowing for an easy trip for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. The trail is handicap accessible too. This trail passes through two tunnels, across three large bridges, and across many smaller trestles. If one were to begin at Galax or Fries, they would enjoy a nice gradual downhill until they arrived at lone ash around mile marker 19. After this point they would have a gradual uphill to Draper (mark 6.2) and then a nice downhill to end the journey at Xaloy.

  • Horseback Riding

    Rentals available. Call Foster Falls Livery, (276) 699-2460, for rates and reservations. Also, the park has bridle trails, and hitching posts are available at Cliffview Campground for overnight guests. No stalls or covered area for horses. Horse trailers for day-use access must be parked at the Allisonia, Cliffview, Draper, Fries, Pulaski and Jackson Ferry Horse Complex entrances only.

  • Picnicking

    This shelter is at the Foster Falls playground and picnic area and is available for rent year-round. It may be rented all day (8 a.m. - 10 p.m.). Call (800) 933-PARK to reserve this shelter. Parking fees are not included in shelter or amphitheater rental (see above for details).

    Cancellation policy for amphitheater and shelter: No refunds within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee. Transfers may be made but only during the reservation center's normal operating hours Monday through Friday, prior to arrival date. Refunds will not be given on the reservation date to customers who have not transferred their reservation ahead of time or cancelled their reservation at least 14 days beforehand.

    Shelter 1: This shelter accommodates up to 100. It's 30 x 70 feet and is handicapped accessible. A pit toilet is nearby. Vehicles must be parked in the nearby parking lot, but a vehicle may be driven to and from the parking lot to drop off picnicking items. The shelter has a charcoal grill. Shelter guests must still pay the daily parking fee.

    New River Amphitheater at Foster Falls-Millrace: The amphitheater is open year-round and rents for the entire day. Customers must the park for a Special Use Permit, for which there's no fee, after reserving the amphitheater. It helps the park prepare for the given event - wedding, music, organized event, etc.). Also, customers should call the park, (276) 699-6778, the day before their event takes place to discuss payment of their guests' parking fees. (The park's normal parking fee is charged for guests attending amphitheater functions. The reservation covers only rental of the amphitheater.) Picnicking isn't allowed in the amphitheater. Because no vehicles are allowed in Historic Foster Falls Village, there's no vehicular access directly to the facility. The closest vehicular access is about 35 feet away.

    The amphitheater seats up to 300 with standing room for about 100 more. There are six 110-volt outlets for the stage area. The stage is 24 by 40 feet. There are two dressing rooms, each 12 by 20 feet, behind the stage. There are no restrooms here. The nearest restrooms, which are closed during winter, are at the Foster Falls Depot Gift Shop.

  • Water Sports

    There are no designated swimming areas, but tubing the New River is popular here.

Seasonality/Weather

Spring and fall are generally comfortable with precipitation possible. Summers can be hot and humid with average temperatures in the high 80s and with sudden thunderstorms possible. July and August are the hottest months. Winters can be cold with average temperatures in the winter of 41 degrees with variable precipitation.

Park Partners

The Foster Falls River Company

The Foster Falls River Company is open on weekends from the first Saturday in April through Memorial Day, then open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day, and open on weekends again Labor Day through the last Sunday in October. The livery rents canoes, kayaks, tubes, bikes andsafety equipment, and it offers shuttle service, snacks and drinks. Call (276) 699-1034 for details.

Directions

Driving

This park is 57 miles long, so there are a number of entrances.

Entrances: Galax - Parking is available where Route 58 crosses Chestnut Creek. Parking fee required.

Cliffview - Take Route 58 to Galax; go north on Route 887 to Cliffview Road (Route 721). The parking area is on the left, across from Cliffview Mansion. Parking fee required.

Gambetta and Chestnut Yard - Take Route 721 north past Cliffview to Route 607. Follow Route 607 to Chestnut Yard or turn on Route 793 to go to Gambetta.

Fries - From Route 94, go south to town. Parking is available near the town park.

Byllesby Dam - Go east on Route 602 off Route 94. Park at the dam.

Ivanhoe - Go east on Route 639 off Route 94.

Shot Tower - From I-77, take Exit 24; go east on Route 69 to Route 52 and follow signs to Shot Tower. Hikers only may access at Shot Tower. Parking fee required. Bicyclists must use road access to the trail. Horses are not allowed at this access point.

Draper - From I-81, take Route 658 East through Draper. Parking is available across from Bryson's Store, less than one mile from the interstate highway. Parking fee required.

Pulaski/Xaloy - From I-81, take Route 99 West approximately two miles to Xaloy; turn onto Xaloy Drive to entrance. Parking fee required.

Foster Falls (New River Trail administrative offices) - From I-77, take Exit 24, go east on Route 69 to Route 52, go north to Route 608, go east and follow signs. Parking fee required. New River Trail can also be accessed at Hiwasee, Allisonia, Austinville and Lone Ash, but there is no developed parking area at these entrances.

Horse trailers may be parked at the Allisonia, Cliffview, Fries, Draper, Pulaski and Jackson Ferry Horse Complex entrances only.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(276) 699-6778

Links