Chessie Nature Trail

The Chessie Nature Trail is a public-access 7-mile long walking trail between Lexington and Buena Vista, along the former Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad right of way. The trail is most suitable for walking and running, as several fixed gates make the trail unsuitable for bicycles.

7.0 miles Point to Point
Kid Friendly Dog Friendly
birding fishing hiking bridge out dogs leash forest
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The trail goes through private lands, including and active cattle farms. Exercise caution and respect.
Dogs must be leashed at all times.
Pack out all litter.
More information can be found on the Virginia Military Institute's website for the trail at

The Rockbridge Area Conservation Council brought the trail to the attention of the Nature Conservancy and Virginia Commission on Outdoor Recreation, and in 1978 the Nature Conservancy accepted deed to the property. The deed was transferred to the VMI Foundation Inc. in 1979, and then to Virginia Military Institute in 2009.

Melanie Bray

1 Completed1 Reviews

great trail for pets...plenty of trails leads to the water to cool them down and even allow them to go for a swim.

Sills O'Keefe

1 Completed1 Reviews

Always lovely. Great for younger kids.

Lauren Howard

4 Completed4 Reviews

Super flat, easy, wonderfully scenic, lots of swimming holes along the first few miles!

Darrell Loudermilk

33 Completed8 Reviews

A fun, casual, easy 7-mile walk with lots of changes in the scenery. I walked from Lexington to Buena Vista, traveling along the Maury River for the first half of the trail. At one point you pass under the interstate and then begin coming to a number of gates, as the trail crosses private land. Right of way is granted to trail walkers. On the half of the trail closer to Buena Vista, be prepared to share the trail with lots of cows. They can be intimidating if you haven't spent much time around cows, because they're so large. But you'll find that they're docile and disinterested, and that they'll generally walk off the trail as you get closer to them. If they don't, just walk around them. The farmland and pasture areas that the trail crosses are just as beautiful as the mountain and river areas, just be prepared to step over and around a little manure. OK, a lot of manure. The trail is very popular, and on a warm day you'll be sharing it with a number of running students, older folks, children, dogs, and other animals.

Mike Michael

1 Completed1 Reviews

A scenic, wide, easy, flat, well maintained trail with wildlife and a river that parallels it most of the way. Has a fair amount of foot traffic and dogs (some of which are on leashes.) Has maybe 80% tree cover, so it makes for shady walking when leaves are on the trees. There are several benches along the way for when you want to take a break. The trail is shared with (2) farmers where beef cows & bulls are kept. Haven't experienced or heard of there being problems w/ bull attacks though.

David Skelding

5 Completed5 Reviews

very nice trail system with great scenery. many people use this trail for hiking , biking and running. Flat trail system.

Becca Hall

1 Completed1 Reviews

my favorite local trail!

Shari Smith

2 Completed1 Reviews

Beautiful rails-to-trails hike that runs along the Maury River. Very easy terrain, good for all members of the family, as long as you watch the little ones (steep drops on the river side). Due to the fact that it was a former railway, the grade is almost nonexistent. Gorgeous scenery. My favorite trail I've visited so far.