GENERAL INFO: New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. The park parallels the scenic and historic New River for 40 miles and passes through four counties. The trail's gentle slope makes it great for visitors of all ages to hike, bike and ride horseback. Several places in the park provide horse, canoe and bike rentals, boat launches and gift shops. Fishing is popular, and primitive camping sites dot the trail. The park hosts a horse arena, and guided horseback trips are available. There are access points to the trail at Allisonia, Cliffview, Draper, Foster Falls, Fries, Galax, Ivanhoe and Xaloy (near Pulaski). Horse trailer parking is available at Allisonia, Cliffview, Draper, Fries, Foster Falls and Xaloy.
Park Size: 1,337 acres. Width averages 80 feet; length from Galax to Pulaski, 51.5 miles; Fries Branch, 5.5 miles; the total length is 57 miles.
Weather: Click on one of the following for Weather Channel information about the given zip code: Draper, Foster Falls, Fries, Galax, Pulaski.
AT-A-GLANCE: The pictographs directly below show park offerings. Click on those of interest or read below for more detail. Mouse-over the image for a short text description or click here to view a legend in which each pictograph's meaning is expressed.
LOCATION: 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.
Its address is 176 Orphanage Dr., Foster Falls, VA 24360.
Foster Falls: Latitude, 36.530512. Longitude, -80.512931.
Shot Tower: Latitude, 36.522000. Longitude, -80.522033.
Cliffview: Latitude, 36.408613. Longitude, -80.550665.
Counties: Carroll, Grayson, Pulaski and Wythe
Towns: Allisonia, Austinville, Draper, Fries, Hiwasee, Ivanhoe, Pulaski
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES: Camping; no cabins. The park has four campgrounds in different locations with different types of sites. Please read the following information carefully and follow instructions specific to the campground of interest. Other locations are for day-use only. Horse trailers may be parked at only the Cliffview, Draper, Fries, Pulaski and Mark E. Hufeisen Horse Complex entrances.
For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation at a campground with reservable sites, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK. Rental rates for cabins and camping vary by season, dwelling and park. First, determine the appropriate season, which can vary by park, then the relevant rate. You also may want to learn about cancellation and transfer policies. A fee is charged per pet per night for overnight stays.
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.
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 universally accessible and is reserved last if not required for a disabled 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.
Note: Running water at Cliffview Campground is shut off November through March. Customers must bring water during that time.
Directions: Take State Route 58 to Galax. Go north on SR 887 to Cliffview Road (SR 721). Take SR 721 one-quarter of a mile and turn right onto Creekview Road. Go one mile to the Dannelly Complex. Cliffview Campground parking is on the right. Cross the footbridge into the campground. Horse campers may not use the footbridge.
Number of sites of each type: Primitive Tent, 10; Primitive Horse, 3
CV001-CV010: Site CV001 is universally accessible and is the last to be rented if not required by a disabled guest.
CVH011-CVH013: Horse sites - There is an enclosed area for the horses, and this area is available at no charge.
Millrace Campground (Wythe County at Foster Falls). This campground overlooks the New River. There is no vehicular access to the campground. There is a short hike to the sites from the parking lot. There are 12 primitive tent camping sites and nine group primitive tent camping sites. Group sites must be rented in groups of three or more until all other Millrace sites are reserved. Once all of the Millrace sites are reserved, the group sites may be reserved individually. Note: This campground is 24 miles from Cliffview Campground.
All sites are timbered and marked. Each has a fire ring, lantern post, picnic table, access to the New River Trail and non-flush toilet. Drinking water is available. One site, MR012, is universally accessible and is reserved last if not required for a disabled camper. There is no life-guarded swimming. The New River's current is unpredictable and potentially dangerous; underwater hazards are possible.
Reservations are required. Same day reservations are permitted. Campers must leave their confirmation letter on their dashboard for overnight parking. Campers will need access to a fax machine or need to pick up the letter at the Foster Falls office if there is insufficient time to receive the letter by mail.
Directions: From I-77, take Exit 24. Go east on State Route 69 to SR 52. Go north to SR 608. Go east and follow signs.
Number of sites of each type: Primitive Tent, 12; Group Primitive Tent, 9
MR001-MR012: Site MR012 is ADA (universally accessible). This site is reserved last if not required by disabled citizen.
MRG013-MRG021: There are nine group sites. These should be rented in groups of three or more unless all other Millrace sites are taken, in which case the group sites may be reserved individually.
Baker Island Campground (Foster Falls) has seven very primitive sites. Before making a reservation, carefully read the entire description for this campground and this document that describes this campground's particular regulations. The sites are on an island accessed only by boat and are available year-round. Reservations are strongly encouraged because prior registration of a site on Baker Island is required, even for walk-ins.
Campers must park their vehicles at the lower boat launch since access to Baker Island is only by kayak or canoe. Visitors must display their confirmation letter on the dash to prevent their vehicle from being towed. Same-day reservations are acceptable, but campers must have access to a fax machine or pick up the confirmation letter from the park's Foster Falls office if there is insufficient time to receive the letter by mail.
Number of sites: 7
Bak = code for Baker Island Campground at Foster Falls for Area of park.
BakBud= code for Group Buddy sites and they are primitive buddy sites.
Sites 1 and 2 (BakBud 001 & BakBud 002) are Group Buddy sites for a maximum of 24 people per site. These are BakBud sites.
Sites 3-7 (Bak 003 through Bak 007) are very primitive sites only for tents; maximum of six people per site.
Directions to Baker Island campsites from the water: Follow directions to Foster Falls listed under Millrace Campground. Proceed to the parking area at the lower boat launch. Heading downstream, sites 1, 2 (Group Buddy sites BakBud 001 and BakBud 002) and 3 (BakBud 003) are accessible from the river by going to the left - the south side - of Baker Island; the sites are on the right.
Sites 4 and 5, BakBud 004 and BakBud 005, are accessible by landing at the upstream tip of the island. From there you'll take a short hike to the sites (there is no direct access from the river for these two sites).
Traveling downstream, sites 6 and 7, BakBud 006 and BakBud 007, are accessible from the river by going to the right - the north side - of the Baker Island; the sites are on the left.
All sites can be accessed from the upstream tip of the island, but from there you'll need to take a short hike to sites Bak 003 through Bak 007 and a longer hike to sites 1 and 2 (the Group Buddy BakBud 001 and BakBud 002).
All sites are marked with an 18" by 18" campsite marker posted along the river's edge.
Read this document regarding specific regulations for this campground before making a reservation.
Double Shoals Campground is an honor system campground. First-come, first-served and no reservations. Four primitive sites only. Campers must bring their own water. It is part of the New River Canoe Trail and is accessible only by river or trail. The Town of Fries is the closest access. Location is mile marker P-40 on the Fries branch of New River Trail State Park.Fee.
Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of the New River Trail.
FISHING, BOATING: 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. State records caught in the New River include muskellunge (45 pounds, 8 ounces), smallmouth bass (8 pounds, 1 ounce) and yellow perch (2 pounds, 7 ounces). The state record spotted bass came (3 pounds, 10 ounces) from nearby Claytor Lake. The New River is bound to yield many more record-setting catches in the future.
The park also rents kayaks and canoes at the Foster Falls Boat and Bike Livery, 276-699-1034.
HORSES: 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 Mark E. Hufeisen Horse Complex entrances only. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.
The Mark E. Hufeisen Horse Complex, which opened in 2008, is one of two such state-owned facilities in Virginia. It's the only rentable arena in Wythe County.
The complex sits on 16.5 acres and has a 170 by 250 foot arena with a calf-roping shoot box and back pins, bleacher seating for 600 spectators, and spectator and participant parking.
The complex can be rented for special events for a full day or half a day. Amenities included in the rental are the grounds, gate fee, concession building (which includes a refrigerator and microwave), announcer’s booth, tractor and drag, barrels and poles. The arena has seven 4,500-watt light poles around it.
Visitors may also bring their own horse and ride in the arena for $5 a day.
The park hosts many horse competitions here, including:
The Mark E. Hufeisen Horse Complex is easily accessible off of Interstate 77. Take exit 24, Poplar Camp.
EVENTS: Click here to view park events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
NATURE, HISTORY PROGRAMS: Click here to view park events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Jefferson National Forest; Big Walker Lookout; Rural Retreat Lake; Claytor Lake; Blue Ridge Travel Association; Blue Ridge Plateau Regional Tourism Center; Blue Ridge Travel Association; Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, 276-728-5397; Carroll County Tourism and Blue Ridge Plateau, 888-785-2781; Grayson County Tourism, 276-773-2471; Galax Tourism, 276-238-8130; New River Trail State Park, 276-699-6778; Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, 540-674-1991; Twin County Regional Chamber of Commerce, 276-236-2184; Virginia Heritage Music Trail; Wytheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, 877-347-8307; Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce, 276-223-3365.
PICNIC SHELTERS: 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). Click here for park fees.
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 universally 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 contact the park for a Special Use Permit 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. Portable toilets are available year-round.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Shot Tower, tunnels, trestles, creek and the New River.
CONCESSIONS: The Foster Falls Boat and Bike 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. Call (276) 699-1034 for details.
The Foster Falls Horse Livery provides guided horse rides every day from the first weekend in April through the end of October. Call (276) 699-2460 for details.
HISTORY: 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.
Master plans must be written for parks before they're built.
The plans are updated at least once every five years thereafter.
The plans cover the size, types, infrastructure and locations of facilities as well as the site's special features and resources.
Three public meetings are held during the initial development of each plan.
Click here (PDF) for this park's master plan.
newrivertrail. Learn more about park offerings by calling 1-800-933-PARK or email resvs.