The Mendota Trail is a 12.5-mile hiking-biking recreational corridor between Bristol, VA and Mendota, VA.

The trail, located solely in Washington County, VA, spans tranquil countryside and forests on gentle grades comparable to nearby rails-to-trails favorites.

Our Beginning

Years ago, a rail line linked Bristol and Mendota, VA. The City of Bristol, VA later purchased the railroad property and in 2016, deeded it to Mountain Heritage, Inc., a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, which has a record of successful trail development.  In 2020, this deed was transferred to the Mendota Trail Conservancy, Inc


Where May I Access the Trail?

* Bristol Trailhead, beside 1788 Island Rd CLOSED 11/15 UNTIL SPRING 2022
* Benhams, across from 7741 Rich Valley Rd
* Mendota Trailhead, across from 2421 Mendota Rd


What Has Been Accomplished?

We have been exclusively supported by private donations and have remained diligent stewards of these gifts. These funds have been used for:

  • Surveying & engineering studies
  • Repair work on trestles
  • Obtaining necessary permits
  • Erecting signage for the trail
  • Legal research
  • Opening the first mile on the Mendota end on October 9, 2017
  • Opening 3.1 miles on the Bristol end on August 16, 2019
  • Completion of a “high trestle” (40 feet above Abrams Creek and 193 feet long) in Benhams on November 13, 2020
  • Opening 2 additional miles on the Bristol end from Reedy Creek Road to Benhams on November 13, 2020 
  • Opening 1 additional mile on the Bristol end with completion of Benhams Crossing Trestle and  the scenic “Cut” resulting in a total of 6.2 miles on July 16, 2021
  • Opening 1 additional mile on the Mendota end and completion of three restored trestles — Sunny Side, Wildwood and Abrams Creek Crossing–resulting in a total of approximately 7.2 miles on October 17, 2021 
  • November 15, 2021.  Construction improvements begin on Bristol Trailhead Parking Lot.  Lot closed until Spring 2022.  

Trail Benefits

Upon completion, this trail will improve the quality of life in our community and be a potential driver of local economic development. It will offer a venue to enjoy nature and engage in active pursuits which will benefit physical well-being. Adjacent property values will be enhanced.

Our Trail Funding Needs

  • Surveying & engineering studies
  • Materials & labor costs for trestle repair
  • Developing adjoining parking areas
  • Grant writing to access private and public funding
  • Trail maintenance

How to make your donation 
for The Mendota Trail:

Donate online via Paypal

Or deliver in person to:

Mountain Sports, Ltd.
1021 Commonwealth Ave. | Bristol, VA 24201

Or mail to:
Mendota Trail Conservancy, Inc. 
PO Box 1322 | Bristol, VA 24203

NOTE: Make tax-advantaged checks payable to “Mendota Trail

Take a moment and view our video:

Video Directed by Jack Dunham; Contributing Photographers – Rick Heppert, Frank Kilgore, Bob Mueller