About the Trail

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

Our Start & Where We are Going

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 then transferred to the Mendota Trail Conservancy, Incorporated.

The trail, located solely in Washington County, VA, spans tranquil countryside and forests on gentle grades comparable to nearby rails-to-trails favorites. It is under active development with half of the trail now open from Bristol, Virginia. The Mendota, Virginia end has two miles currently open with additional miles anticipated in the near future. Click Here to read our brochure!


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Trail Rules

  • Open dawn to dusk
  • No trespassing on adjacent property
  • No motorized vehicles
  • No littering, tobacco products, alcohol, or drugs
  • No hunting or discharge of firearms
  • Minors must be accompanied by adults
  • No animals other than leashed non-vicious dogs *Dog waste must be disposed of properly

Trail users do so as their own risk and by using the trail waive all claims of injury or property damage against trail owner, its agents, volunteers, employees, contractors, board members, and representatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much of the trail is open?

A total of about ten miles. Currently, there are 6.1 miles open on the southern end running from Bristol to a turn-around just about one mile past Benhams. Four miles are open on the northern end, starting at the Mendota Trailhead.

Where can I access the trail?

There are 3 access points:

Bristol Trailhead

Benhams Parking area

Mendota Trailhead

When will the trail be completed?

After all trestles have been restored, the entire 12.5 miles of trail will be open.  This timeline hinges on receiving the necessary funding to complete trestle repairs. We expect the full 12.5 miles to be open in mid-2023.

Are horses allowed on the trail?
Can I bring my dog?
Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail. We ask that you clean up after your dogs if needed.
Is there cell service?
Service is available near Bristol and at the Benhams parking area. Cell service is not available in the more remote areas.
Are there restrooms?
There is a port-a-potty located at the Benhams parking area and at the Mendota Trailhead from March – November.

What’s New?

Want to learn a little more about the Mendota Trail? Check out what others are saying about our trail in the news!

Where to Access the Trail

Bristol Trailhead Beside 1788 Island Rd.*

Benhams 7720 Rich Valley Rd.

Mendota Trailhead Across from 2421 Mendota Rd.

*Re-0pens Saturday, June 4, 2022

Support the Trail

Our Trail Funding Needs:

  • Surveying & Engineering Studies
  • Materials & Labor Costs for Trestle Repair
  • Developing Adjoining Parking Areas
  • Grant Writing to Access Private & Public Funding
  • Trail Maintenance

Contact Us

Have inquiries about the Mendota Trail? We would love to help you!  Fill out the form below with any questions or comments and we will get in touch with you.

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Reach Us

Contact us with any inquires about the Mendota Trail.
Mendota Trail 
PO Box 1322
Bristol, VA 24203

Rules for Mendota Trail Use

Only officially announced portions of the trail are open to the public; the rest of the corridor is closed due to dangerous conditions; non-permitted usage is solely at the user’s own risk. Open dawn to dusk. No trespassing on the adjacent private property. No motorized vehicles. No hunting or discharge of firearms. No animals other than leashed non-vicious dogs; dog waste must be disposed of properly. Minors must be accompanied by adults. TRAIL USERS DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK AND BY USING THE TRAIL WAIVE ALL CLAIMS OF INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE AGAINST THE MENDOTA TRAIL CONSERVANCY, INC., ITS AGENTS, VOLUNTEERS, EMPLOYEES, CONTRACTORS, BOARD MEMBERS, AND REPRESENTATIVES.