The Chessie Nature Trail follows the towpath of a canal that carried passengers and cargo between Richmond and Lexington in the mid-1800s. In 1861, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company purchased the canal property and laid tracks for the James River Line and Lexington Branch. In 1969 Hurricane Camille took out the trestle across the Maury River. Transformed into a seven-mile, public access rail trail, the Chessie Nature Trail is maintained by Virginia Military Institute, which received the Garden Club of Virginia’s Dugdale Award in 2015 in recognition of its stewardship.
Virginia Military Institute provides information about trail access points and guidelines on its Chessie Trail website. Please note that the trail has a relatively flat grade with a gravel and dirt surface, and there are currently no facilities on the trail. Additional information is also available on the Friends of the Chessie Trail website.