Missing Link Trail could be key to Southside greenway

Missing Link Trail connects Manchester Climbing Wall with Belle IsleThere is an unofficial, unmaintained trail on the southside of the James that connects the Manchester Climbing Wall to the southside bridge to Belle Isle known as the Missing Link Trail.

The half-mile path has been in place for many years and mainly runs atop dirt and sediment that has settled  for decades behind a nearby VEPCO dam. It is cluttered with debris from high waters from the James, downed trees, large rocks, discarded iron railroad ties and large granite rocks used to stabilize the railroad tracks that run nearby.

“It’s a crude trail, probably more up to hikers than anything else,” said Nathan Burrell, James River Park System’s trail manager, during a recent JROC meeting. There is potential that the JRPS and the volunteer trail building group Richmond-MORE could get involved to develop the trail for more consistent and heavier usage.

This section is considered a key to a connecting greenway between the Buttermilk Trail and Belle Isle to the west with the Floodwall Walk and Canal Walk loop to the east. You can access the trail from paved Canal Loop trail from the parking lot at Semmes and 7th streets (next to SunTrust). Walk down the wooden steps to the left at the top of the Manchester Climbing Wall and take the trail into the woods at the base of the staircase.

Have you ever hiked this trail? Would you be interested in seeing it developed and maintained by the JRPS?


6 responses to “Missing Link Trail could be key to Southside greenway

  1. I live a block from the Buttermilk Trail and spend so much time exploring the area. I’ve never stumbled across this trail, but would love to find it. All the maintained trails are an amazing resource to the community, and this trail would be a great connect to yet another unique area of the river.

  2. Lots of reasons to not put a trail down there. Homeless people for one.

  3. Found it today. I ended up at a locked gate at the south end of the emergency bridge to Belle Isle, but I managed to squeeze through. Is there another way to get around this?

  4. Pingback: Access Week: Connecting Brown’s Island to Manchester via VEPCO levee | James River News Hub

  5. On the Belle Island end, you have to hop over to the concrete pipeline and follow it under the access bridge.

  6. I’ve been hiking this trail for years, as long as the water is at a reasonable level. It’s actually not in bad shape except for the 100 or so yards that parallel the railroad track (even this makes it an interesting hike). It’s a very cool connection, and the hiking is very nice near the eastern portion of the trail. Do keep an eye out for the homeless camp under the Lee Bridge…

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