The Mendota Trail, located in Washington County, Virginia, is another of our area’s outdoor gems that is extremely popular with hikers and bikers. The “rails to trails” multi-use route, extending from Bristol to Mendota, follows the old Southern Railroad line and continues to be developed.
In October of 2021, another mile of the trail opened, along with three newly restored trestles. In total, the Mendota Trail now features 8.2 miles of open trails and six restored trestles. Currently, there are two segments to the trail; the northern two-mile segment runs from Mendota to Little Wolf Run Road in rural Washington County. An additional six miles stretch from a trailhead on Island Road in Bristol to a turn-around just beyond Wolf Run Road.
Bikers, walkers, and runners – along with their dogs as long as they’re on a leash – can take advantage of the dirt trail to wander into lush and tranquil open pastures, woodland, and along creeks. They can also enjoy a swinging bridge that runs parallel to the trail bridge that crosses the North Fork of the Holston River.
When the Mendota Trail is completed, it will offer more access, longer hikes, and rides, and it will continue to enhance the quality of life in our community as it has since its inception. At just four percent or less elevation, it provides a pleasant outdoor experience.
Parking and access at the Mendota Trailhead are at Mendota Road and Civil Drive/614 at SR 802. In Bristol, a large parking area can be accessed on Mountain Heritage Inc. property off Island Road next to I-81 and to the right of the building located at 1788 Island Road in Bristol, Va. There is also limited parking at 8662 Reedy Creek Road at the three-mile point.