15 Best Walks In Richmond (Hikes & Nice Walks)

15 Best Walks In Richmond (Hikes & Nice Walks)

By will

Richmond, Virginia is an amazing place to explore! With so many outdoor trails and walks to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start.

Fortunately, I’ve outlined the fifteen best hikes and walks in the Richmond area, ranging from the historic Belle Isle to the newly opened Capital Trail Extension to Charles City County.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll, a challenging hike, or a scenic drive, these fifteen trails have something for everyone! So grab your walking shoes and let’s explore Richmond’s incredible outdoors!

Belle Isle

Sandon Place - Belle Isle Road
Photo by Betty Longbottom

Belle Isle is a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, offering stunning views and peaceful vibes! The island is situated in the James River, located in downtown Richmond, and is accessible by footbridge.

The island offers a variety of trails for hikers and walkers of all skill levels, including a 2.5 mile loop around the island. The trails are lined with tall trees, providing plenty of shade, and stunning views of the James River.

Along the trails, visitors can also find a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, herons, and ospreys, as well as a variety of other birds and small mammals. The island also features a variety of historical landmarks, including monuments, sculptures, and ruins of an old state penitentiary.

When visiting the island, be sure to bring water, snacks, and a camera, as the views and wildlife are definitely worth capturing!

James River Park System

View of Buckingham Palace from St. James's Park #2
Photo by Robert Lamb

The renowned James River Park System offers a plethora of outdoor activities, from leisurely strolls to more adventurous hikes, to explore Richmond’s natural beauty.

Spanning over 550 acres of parkland along the James River, the area is home to a variety of trails. These trails range from easy to more difficult and technical trails. Whether it’s a walk along the riverside or an exploration of the trails in the woods, the James River Park System offers something for everyone.

Along the trails, visitors can enjoy Richmond’s wildlife, such as bald eagles, herons, grebes, and migrating waterfowl. The park is also home to multiple historic sites, including the ruins of the Hollywood Rapids Pump Station and the remains of an old canal.

For those looking for a more leisurely walk, the flat, wide trails along the riverbank are perfect for a leisurely stroll. And if you’re looking for a more challenging adventure, the trails in the woods will provide a great workout.

No matter what kind of walk you’re looking for, the James River Park System has something to offer. With its variety of trails, historic sites, and wildlife, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Libby Hill Park

Lily Hill Park, sports ground
Photo by Alan Hunt

Perched atop Church Hill, Libby Hill Park offers breathtaking views of Richmond’s skyline. It is a popular spot to enjoy a picnic lunch, take a leisurely stroll, or simply sit and take in the views.

The park features a variety of trails, from paved routes for strollers and wheelchairs, to gravel paths for mountain bikers, to dirt trails for hikers. The park also features a variety of trees and plants, including rare species of azaleas and dogwoods.

Visitors to Libby Hill Park can also enjoy the historic marker that commemorates the location of the first battle of the Civil War, which took place at the site in 1861.

In addition, the park is home to the annual Dogwood Dell Festival of the Arts, which features live music, drama, and dance performances. Libby Hill Park is also home to a variety of events throughout the year, from outdoor movies to farmer’s markets.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape, a place to explore nature, or a scenic spot to take in the views, Libby Hill Park is a great destination for Richmond’s outdoor enthusiasts.

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Byrd Park

You’ll find a wealth of activities to engage in at Byrd Park, from leisurely lakeside strolls to more rugged trail explorations. Set within the 74-acre park, you’ll discover a two-mile stretch of the James River, with a variety of trails offering stunning views of the river and surrounding areas.

There are two main trails that wind around the park, the Lakeside Trail and the Riverfront Trail. Both offer stunning views of the river, and they are well-maintained and easy to navigate.

The Lakeside Trail is a great option for a leisurely walk, where you can admire the beautiful lake, go bird watching, or take part in the many activities for kids.

The Riverfront Trail is the more adventurous option, offering a more rugged terrain and spectacular views of the river. You can also take a boat out to explore the river, or if you prefer to stay on land, you can explore the nearby historic monuments and monuments.

Byrd Park is a great place to spend a day outdoors and enjoy the beauty of Richmond.

Pony Pasture Rapids

Experience the thrill of the rapids at Pony Pasture Rapids, a popular spot in Richmond for whitewater enthusiasts. Located along the James River, Pony Pasture Rapids is an ideal spot for kayaking, tubing, and swimming.

The rapids are considered a Class II, meaning they’re relatively easy to navigate for those who are experienced or with proper guidance. For a more relaxing experience, you can take a leisurely stroll along the river and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

The park features a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, blue herons, and ospreys. There’s also a wide variety of flora, including redbud trees, dogwoods, and pawpaws.

On hot summer days, you can take a dip in the river and cool off. Pony Pasture Rapids is also a great spot for a picnic lunch or simply to relax and take in the scenery.

Whether you’re an experienced whitewater enthusiast or just looking for a peaceful day outdoors, Pony Pasture Rapids is sure to provide an enjoyable experience.

Maymont Park

Leaving Pony Pasture Rapids, I take a short drive to another one of Richmond’s best places to take a walk, Maymont Park.

This park is a unique combination of both a botanical garden and a historical estate. Its grounds were once home to a wealthy family, and today visitors can explore its historical buildings, gardens, and even its zoo.

The park has a number of different walking trails, with something for everyone. I like to explore the Nature Center Trail, which takes me through a variety of different landscapes, from meadows and creeks to forests and wetlands. There’s also the Japanese Garden Trail, which takes me through a beautiful Japanese garden complete with ponds, bridges, and a variety of plants.

There are plenty of other trails to explore as well, so no matter what kind of walk I’m looking for, Maymont Park is sure to have something that meets my needs.

The Fan District

Just a few minutes away is the vibrant Fan District, where I can find a variety of exciting activities and sights.

The Fan District is a lively residential area with a blend of classic Victorian and art deco homes, coffee shops, and restaurants. It’s a great place to explore by foot, as there are plenty of narrow cobblestone streets and alleys lined with historic buildings. Walking the streets is a great way to experience the unique atmosphere of the Fan District, and I’m sure I’ll never run out of things to see or do.

What’s more, the Fan District is located close to some of Richmond’s top attractions, making it the perfect starting point for a day of sightseeing. I can easily take a short stroll to iconic monuments like the Virginia State Capitol building, the Library of Virginia, and Monument Avenue.

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There is also a variety of parks and recreational areas, including the Virginia War Memorial and the Canal Walk, where I can enjoy the outdoors.

The Fan District is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening, and I’m sure I’ll never run out of things to see or do.

Hollywood Cemetery

Admire the stunning views of Richmond from Hollywood Cemetery, a historic resting place that is the final stop for many of the city’s prominent figures.

Hollywood Cemetery has been around since 1849, making it one of the oldest cemeteries in the state.

It’s a great place to take a walk and admire the beauty of the grounds, while also getting a glimpse into the city’s past and its many famous residents.

The cemetery is also known for its stunning views of the James River and the Richmond skyline.

There are plenty of hiking trails that wind through the cemetery, giving visitors the chance to explore its nearly 300 acres.

As you make your way through the cemetery, you can pay respects to the many Confederate and Union soldiers buried there, as well as many of the city’s political, cultural, and business leaders.

It’s a great way to get to know Richmond’s history and its many notable figures.

Belle Isle Marsh

Explore the Belle Isle Marsh, an ecological oasis in the heart of Richmond, and experience the serene beauty of nature.

Located along the James River, the Belle Isle Marsh is a great spot for a peaceful stroll or an invigorating hike.

The marshlands are full of native plants and trees, as well as an abundance of wildlife.

You can spot a variety of birds, amphibians, and other animals on your journey.

As you meander through the marsh, you will find plenty of opportunities for photography, nature study, and relaxation.

Enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature as you explore the winding trails and take in the breathtaking views.

The Belle Isle Marsh is the perfect destination for those looking to experience the beauty of nature in Richmond.

Forest Hill Park

Take a stroll through Forest Hill Park and experience the beauty of Richmond’s great outdoors.

Forest Hill Park is one of the city’s oldest parks, situated on the highest hill in the city.

It has played host to a variety of activities over the years, such as the Virginia State Fair and the Confederate Reunion.

The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and raccoons.

Take a leisurely walk through the park and you’ll find plenty of things to explore.

You’ll also find plenty of trails to take, as well as multiple playgrounds and picnic areas.

The park also has a lake, which is home to a variety of fish and turtles.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful walk or an adventurous hike, Forest Hill Park has something for everyone.

Virginia Capital Trail

Embark on an adventure along the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail, connecting Richmond and Jamestown. This trail offers a variety of terrain and landscapes, from the James River to the state capitol.

From the trail’s beginning in Richmond, it follows the same route that the colonial representatives took to Jamestown in 1619. Along the way, you can enjoy the beauty of the countryside as you pass through historic sites, picturesque towns, and vibrant cities.

The Virginia Capital Trail is perfect for beginning and experienced hikers alike, offering gorgeous views with minimal elevation change. You’ll pass by Civil War battlefields, a national wildlife refuge, and the beautiful foliage of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Pack a picnic and make a day of it, or just enjoy a leisurely stroll. No matter how you choose to explore the trail, you’re sure to have a memorable experience.

Three Lakes Park

Discover the beauty of Three Lakes Park, a tranquil oasis located in Richmond, on your next outdoor adventure.

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This park is the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, a scenic picnic, or some peaceful fishing. It features a small lake, a large lake, and a pond, all surrounded by rolling hills and lush vegetation.

The trails wind around the lakes and through wooded areas, offering a great place to get away and enjoy nature. The park also has a boardwalk with benches and picnic tables, as well as a playground and a pavilion.

Three Lakes Park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including turtles, frogs, ducks, and geese. The park is a popular spot for bird watchers and nature lovers alike. In addition to the hiking trails, the park also has a bike path, a disc golf course, and a frisbee golf course.

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the trail to the top of the hill is a great option. No matter what type of outdoor activity you’re looking for, Three Lakes Park is sure to have something to offer.

Ancarrow’s Landing

After exploring the trails of Three Lakes Park, I was ready to head to one of the most scenic spots in Richmond: Ancarrow’s Landing. This riverside park is located on the James River, offering breathtaking views of the river and the downtown skyline.

Ancarrow’s Landing is perfect for a leisurely stroll along the riverbank or for a more adventurous hike through the woods. With plenty of nature trails and over 3 miles of shoreline, there’s something for everyone.

The park also features a boat launch, fishing pier, and picnic areas. On a warm summer day, Ancarrow’s Landing is the perfect place to take in the beauty of Richmond and enjoy a peaceful walk.

Oregon Hill Nature Park

Next up on my Richmond exploration was Oregon Hill Nature Park, a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of the city. This park offers a peaceful, educational trek through a 6-acre wildlife refuge, with plenty of opportunities to observe nature up close.

The trails loop around a pond, and visitors can spot a variety of birds, turtles, and other animals in their natural habitat. The park also features a nature center, which provides an array of resources for learning more about the environment.

There’s plenty of benches and picnic areas located throughout the park, so visitors can take a break and enjoy the scenery. The park also plays host to a variety of educational programs and events, from nature walks and bird watching to gardening workshops and outdoor concerts.

With its natural beauty and educational opportunities, Oregon Hill Nature Park is a great spot for getting out and enjoying Richmond’s natural side.

Capital Trail Extension to Charles City County

Head over to the Capital Trail Extension to explore Charles City County and take in its stunning scenery.

The Capital Trail Extension is a part of the Capital Trail, a biking and walking path that stretches from Richmond to Jamestown, Virginia. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of the state while taking in some of its historical sites.

The trail is mostly flat with some inclines, and is suitable for bikers of all levels.

The trail passes through some of the most beautiful parts of Charles City County. Along the way, you’ll be able to observe wildlife, take in the stunning views, and visit historical sites, such as the plantations of the Virginia aristocracy.

The trail also passes through the Chickahominy River, where you can take a break and cool off in the water.

The trail is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging bike ride, and is a great way to explore the area.

Conclusion

Taking a walk in Richmond is a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature and get some exercise. I’ve enjoyed exploring the 15 best walks in the city.

From Belle Isle to the Capital Trail Extension to Charles City County, there is something for everyone. Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll or challenge yourself with a more strenuous hike, you’ll find something to enjoy in Richmond.

So, grab your shoes and head out to discover the beauty of this city!

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.