Sunday, August 28, 2016

New River Trail - Fries to Ivanhoe, VA

Last week, I was pleased to be able to attend the Iron Mountain Jubilee Endurance Ride. We arrived on Wednesday for the Friday 50 miler with my horse, Sasha. For a recap of that ride, please visit my endurance blog post Iron Mountain Jubilee 2016.

But I had some time Thursday morning, so I decided to go for a run along the New River Trail.

Originally, I had planned on running from the horse camp at Ivanhoe, VA. I just planned to run south for 5 or so miles and turn around and head back. But my husband pointed out it was only about 12 or 13 miles if I ran from the trailhead in Fries, VA. So Thursday morning, he drove me out to Fries and dropped me off for my long run for the week.

The trail is well maintained rails to trails project. The trail I have done is easy with very little elevation change and a wide even path of crushed gravel. It's a beautiful run with lots of shade and some nice views.

I started my run at the trailhead in Fries, VA. Plenty of parking and a large porta potty. No running water on this trail that I've seen, other than the horse camp at Ivanhoe, so be sure to bring enough water for your excursion or bring along a pocket water filter to refill from the river. I personally use a Sawyer Mini, but I didn't do that on this trip. I just carried 3 water bottles.

The porta potty at the Fries trail head.

This is a fee area.
Map at Fries.
Me all ready for my run!
This is a multi-use trail. It's a great trail for that. Wide with good line of sight most places.

Lots of geese at the Fries trail head!

Beautiful views of the river.
Double Shoals Campground about 4.5 miles north of Fries.
Porta potty and trash can at the campground. Again, no running water.
Campground fees

A few more campsites a little north of the porta potty and fee station.
Mile marker 46 on the left.

Fries Junction. The right trail leads to Fries (~5.5 mi); the left to Galax (~12 mi).
At Fries Junction, I ran into a couple of cyclists that were enjoying the trail and were taking a break. We had a great chat about multi-use trails. With me being a runner and a horseback rider, it was a fun chat. I shared with them the importance of cyclists talking to horseback riders so the horses get a sense that the scary 2 wheeled creature is actually a weird type of human. It was a very pleasant exchange and we parted ways after about 10 minutes.

Calm waters.
A rest stop with a bike rack and a horse hitching post.

Road crossings are marked by these barriers that keep unauthorized cars off the trail.

Another rest stop. Most of the rest stops and some of the trestles have these Emergency Number signs with the location printed on them. Very handy to have if you need some help.

4.5 miles north of Fries Junction, there is a trail that leads to a campground.
The trail back to this spot was in dis-repair. But a quiet place if that's what you're looking for. Would be difficult to get a bike back here.

Buck Dam
Buck Dam
Rest area just north of Buck Dam

Big Branch Trestle. There are several of these over roads or creeks. Horseback riders should dismount. If your horse freaks out, you have nowhere to go but over.

Just past Big Branch, the VA Highlands trail is accessible.
The Ivanhoe Horse Show Grounds were not much further on and I stopped there where we were camped. A very nice run. I highly recommend it for a nice easy run. Not technical, not difficult and I was able to get a nice long run in.

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