So what is the East Coast Greenway? Imagine a mostly flat, 3000 mile Appalachian Trail system starting in Calais, Maine and ending in Key West, Florida, when completed, the ECG will be nearly 3000 miles long and connect the major cities along the Atlantic Coast. Plans call for 90% of the trail to be off road.
The East Coast Greenway is routed on 400 miles of Virginia trails and roads—over 270 miles of spine routing plus about 130 miles of alternate routing. The routes connect urban, suburban, and rural areas from Arlington through Fredericksburg, Richmond, Petersburg, South Hill, and Clarksville, and (via the alternate Historic Coastal Route) Richmond to Jamestown to Chesapeake. The Historic Coastal Route follows the Virginia Capital Trail, a 50-mile route that closely follows Virginia’s Hwy. 5 along a mostly traffic-separated path and traverses a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Historic Coastal Route will connect with the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail which, will bring travelers over the border into North Carolina.
While about 14% of the spine route is on completed multi-use trail, an additional 20% of the route is in development and headed toward becoming firm-surface, multi-use trail.
Currently open trails include the Mount Vernon Trail, Virginia Capital Trail, Tobacco Heritage Trail, and Dismal Swamp Canal Trail. In the coming years you should see quite a bit more trails built in Southside, Greater Richmond, and elsewhere.
The Virginia Bicycling Federation. has worked with the East Coast Greenway and VA Department of Conservation and Recreation to publish the East Coast Greenway Virginia: A Guide To Bicycling and Walking the ECG in Virginia, an informative and easy to use guide offers maps and turn-by-turn directions of the ECG route through Virginia.
You can get your guide free of charge at any of Virginia’s 12 Welcome Centers or you can order a copy by mail (the cost is $5 for shipping and handling), or download the pdf for free.
Download your free copy here here in PDF form, or order a hardcopy here (cost is $5 for shipping and handling).
Trail Status and Plans
More information on trails and greenways in Virginia