Thursday, May 19, 2011

A 6 mile/10K walk around Ashland, VA

Here's a walk I like to do in the town of Ashland, VA.  It's about 6.5 miles or 10.5 kilometers. It mostly uses minor roads, sidewalks and pathways/greenways.

Map of Route
Start at the intersection of Henry Street and Route 54/England Street near the Randolph-Macon College Welcome Center, across from the Ashland post office. Walk north on Henry Street past the RMC library (on your right) and football field (on your left).  Continue walking on Henry Street.  At the end of Henry St. make a left onto Vaughan Road (this is approximately 1 mile from the start of the walk).  Walk along Vaughan Road a short distance until you cross the railroad tracks.  Immediately after crossing the railroad tracks, turn left onto the Railside Trail.
Railside Trail

 The Railside Trail is a 1/3 mile paved path and open space that runs alongside the railroad.  Walk the Railside trail until it ends, then continue straight onto Center Street, which also runs parallel to the railroad.  After walking about a third of a mile on Center Street, look for a winding sidewalk path near RMC's Rhodeen House.  Follow this winding sidewalk toward RMC's new tennis complex.  The parking lot of the tennis complex exits onto Henry Clay Road, where you will make a right to continue your walk. 

Tennis Court Sidewalk
Walk .2 miles on Henry Clay Road, then make a left at James Street.  You'll walk about .7 miles on James Street, crossing Route 54/Thompson Street.  James Street ends at the trailhead for the Stony Run Trail, a walking/jogging trail along an eight-acre tract  following Stony Run Creek.  

Stony Run Trail
The other end of the Stony Run Trail puts you out near the intersection of Ashcake Road and Center Street.  Cross the railroad tracks at this intersection (use caution) and continue along Ashcake Road.  Look for a road called Maple Street,which is near a park.  Make a right onto Maple Street, heading south.  There is no sidewalk here so be careful.  After a short distance Maple Street veers off to the left, but you'll want to continue straight onto Walder Lane.  After you've walked a short distance on Walder Lane you might come across a closed gate.  I always just climb around this gate and keep going. 

Ashland Trolley Line Trail
After climbing around the gate, continue on Walder Lane and soon you'll come upon the Ashland Trolley Line Trail.  This greenway currently extends for about a half-mile along the Old Trolley Line Right of Way from Ashland to Richmond.  There are tentative plans to extend it farther, but currently it is just a half-mile one-way trail (one mile up and back).  Walk along the Ashland Trolley Line Trail until it ends at a small parking lot, passing some swampy areas along the way.  At this point you're going to backtrack some of the way you go back up the Trolley Line Trail to Walder Lane, climb around the gate, and keep going on Maple Street until you get back to Ashcake Road. 

At this point you've walked about 5.5 miles and only have about one mile to go!!!  Once you get back to the Ashcake Road, you have a couple options. 

Option 1 (shown on map): Continue along Maple Street for the entire last mile until reaching the finish at the intersection of Route 54 and Maple Street (this will put you at the post office, across the street from where you started).  If you walk this way there is one section between the cross streets of New Street and Mac Murdo Street that is pedestrian only - no cars could fit through here. 

Option 2: A more scenic and slightly more lengthy detour is to backtrack a few more steps by taking a left at Ashcake, heading back toward Center Street.  When you get to Center Street make a right before crossing the railroad.  By going this way you get to walk past all the beautiful old homes that line Center Street and the historic Ashland town center.  Stay on Center Street until you get to Route 54, just after Cross Bros. grocery store, and make a right.  Walk along 54 a short distance until you get back to the start/finish.

I sometimes like to take a brief break at this point and then do the walk all over again in the opposite direction for a total of about 13 miles altogether!


  1. Lanny: I hike in the regional trails in the east SF bay area hills each weekend. I get in about 12 to 16 miles in the average weekend. My longest has been 22 miles. Jeff / Humble Baritonics. (I use a free "Runkeeper" app that shows my routes on streets or the mapped trails. Besides my bari-ukin the hills are my sanctuary. I often sing songs I want to memorize during the 2-3 hour outings.)

  2. Thanks for posting this route around the Center of the Universe. We had a great walk and enjoyed all the hidden trails. It was a treat at the end to find a Sweet Frog to stock all our burned calories. FYI, it's 6.88 miles if you take option 2 down Center Street.