Forest Hill Park Details
Forest Hill Park has been around for awhile. It celebrated it’s 160th anniversary in 2002 and was also named a historic landmark by both the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. Once a large country estate, the park became a terminus for a trolley line that was brought from downtown Richmond, which drew new residents to South Side Richmond. In the early 1900’s, an amusement park was established in the park. Waning popularity caused the amusement park to close in 1932, partially due to the Great Depression. The park was acquired by the City of Richmond in 1933.
The park is about 100 acres and has 3.2 miles of trails. The trails have been used as part of the Xterra Off-Road triathlon race numerous times since 2000 and were completely over-hauled in 2009. The trails are accessible from the James River Park System at Reedy Creek and Riverside Drive. Since the trail system is so small, most people combine them with Buttermilk, North Bank, and Belle Isle to create a longer route. The trail system would be considered flowing singletrack with several long climbs.
From the Reedy Creek parking area take a left on Riverside drive and look for a dirt-ish road immediately after the road crosses over the creek. This is both the entrance and exit point to the loop. I will describe the loop in the counterclockwise direction below.
Stay on the dirt road sized walking path that drops down along the creek until you see a large cement block with a manhole in the top of it (approximately 3' tall). A square pipe crosses the creek here and you ride across it (it's about 3' wide....and be careful, walk if necessary). The easiest access to ride onto the "bridge" is riding around the upstream side of the cement block and then riding across.
From here the trail is fairly straightforward. Continue up a climb, ride the trail skirting the parking lot, down a fun decent with some interesting whoop-dee's, continue up another climb until you reach a single lane paved walk way. Ride across this, down the stairs on the other side and up the brief climb. At the top of this climb you end up at the top of some stone stairs. From here ride the pathway that continues adjacent a chain link fence that encloses the James River Park System "physical plant" (where they keep all of their stuff for maintaining the park). This will lead you to some more trail that continues up to a road with another paved walking trail crossing.
Cross the paved path and continue on the singletrack down to a bridge over Reedy creek (wooden 3' wide with hand railings). Cross this, the trail continues right from here. From here the trail is easier to follow for about a half mile with some side hill meanderings. Eventually you get a descent with a hairpin right turn. After this continue down across the creek and start the climb up right. The top of this climb appears to go straight, but take the left turn up hill here and continue through switchbacks and turns the remaining half mile to where we began.
Note, counter-clockwise is just the direction I prefer. In the last several years (2009 - present 8/10/13) the races in the area have used this section the other direction.
Local Trail Association
More Stats for Forest Hill Park mountain bike trail
Altitude change59 ft
Altitude min85 ft
Altitude max242 ft
Altitude start85 ft
Altitude end145 ft
Distance climb2 miles
Distance down1 miles
Distance flat652 ft
Avg reverse time00:19:20
- view trail stats
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