Walking the Trail
The Chessie Nature Trail is a seven-mile, year-round public access walking trail between Lexington and Buena Vista, located along the former Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad right of way. The trail has a relatively flat grade with a gravel and dirt surface. There are currently no facilities on the trail, so plan a visit accordingly. Ticks are also fairly common in this area during warmer months; be sure to wear appropriate clothing and check thoroughly for ticks after returning from the trail.
Be sure to visit our trail listing at AllTrails.com, where you can download their smartphone app to rate the trail, log your trip with GPS, and upload photos for other visitors to see! Users may also want to bring along a copy of the Field Guide to the Chessie Nature Trail (published in 2009 by the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council) to learn more about the history and environment in the area of the trail.
Rules and Guidelines
The trail is most suitable for walking and running, as several fixed gates make the trail unsuitable for bicycles. The trail goes through private lands, including active cattle farms. Exercise caution and respect. Dogs must be leashed at all times. Pack out all litter.
The Chessie Nature Trail is open to the public. The trail may be accessed from several places, including
- At the North end of the East Lexington Bridge (U.S. Route 11) over the Maury River
- Near Mill Creek on Old Buena Vista Road (Virginia Route 631), about 0.6 miles east of Route 11
- At Stuartsburg Road (Route 608), where the South River flows into the Maury
- At the Eastern terminus, Stuartsburg Road (Route 608) at U.S. Route 60
Scheduling Trail Use
VMI occasionally uses the trail for cadet marches. The trail remains open to the public during these times.
Local community groups are encouraged to hold walks or meetings on the trail. A courtesy contact to VMI is welcome, but not required. Large or complex events such as foot races must be coordinated in advance with VMI to prevent trail use conflicts. Any group wishing to hold a trail clean up or other volunteer trail maintenance may contact VMI for support.
The Chessie Nature Trail Advisory Committee was established in June 2013 to advise the superintendent of VMI with respect to trail design, construction, use, maintenance, and promotion. The committee establishes a balanced approach between and among various trail users’ and private land owners’ interests, and provides a forum for continued community input in the safe and sustainable use of the trail’s natural and cultural resources. The committee meets quarterly, with its annual meeting in November open to the public.