Virginia Capital Trail AKA Cap to Cap Trail

The Virginia Capital Trail, also known as the Cap to Cap Trail (C2C Trail), runs from Jamestown, Virginia’s first capital to Richmond, Virginia’s current capital. The scenic trail runs 51 miles (102 mile loop) past many historical sites, large open farmland, and small communities.  In addition to restrooms, water, and parking at parks along the trail, there are other convenient locations for picking up food and drinks.

Credit: Virginia Department of Transportation

There was more elevation than I expected with a total of 2,421 feet over the entire 108.34 miles, but because the hills were spread out it didn’t seem as brutal as some of our local rides.

Because of time restraints, we broke the trail into two parts, starting our rides on both days at Dorey Park, a Richmond suburb. Our first day’s ride totaled 86 miles and the second day totaled 22 miles. The additional mileage to our rides was added when we explored Jamestown and then Richmond at each turnaround point.

Credit: Road-Tested Bike Tours

Ride Overview
  • • Ride Name: Virginia Capital Trail: Richmond to Jamestown
  • • Location: Henrico County, VA
  • • Start/Finish: Darcey Park
  • • Course Type: Out-and-back
  • • Course Surface: Paved
  • • Bike: Specialized Roubaix Comp
  • • Distance: 86.22 miles / 22.12 miles
  • • Time: 6:04:09 / 1:44:15
  • • Average Speed: 14.2 MPH / 12.7 MPH
  • • Elevation Gain: 1,762 feet / 659 feet
  • • Elevation Range: 1 to 226 feet / 18 to 205 feet
  • • Temperature Range: 59° to 82° / 44° (feels like 37°) to 48° (feels like 42°)
  • • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
  • • Course Map:


Day 1: Dorey Park to Jamestown Loop

We started our first day’s ride at Dorey Park on a gorgeous sunny spring day. It was cool at first, but we were layered and mostly comfortable. I was dressed in bike shorts, s/s jersey, light jacket, and nitrile gloves under fingerless gloves (nitrile gloves are great for blocking the wind). Once I warmed up about 20 miles in, I removed my jacket and nitrile gloves.


After getting our bikes set up with water bottles, GarminsVarias (radar taillight), and headlamps, we stopped by the restroom before taking the connector trail from Dorey Park to the Virginia Capital Trail. The connector trail brought us to mile marker 41 on the C2C Trail.


We opted to ride east toward Jamestown first with plans to do the full loop if time and energy allowed.


The trail was relatively straight and very wide and smooth when we started out; however, there was a 5-10 mile stretch just east of Dorey Park that had a lot of unevenness due to root damage. The trail varied between open fields with minimal shade to sections that took us under canopies of pine…


As we rounded a curve, we saw goats on the trail. Goats! They took their time moving off the trail and up the hill back toward, presumably, their home. Many of them were grazing in the median between the trail and the road, but none were in the road. Most were wearing very loose collars so I doubt they had an invisible fence.


We certainly picked a great time to ride the trail because there were many long patches of daffodils blooming amongst the pine trees.


A portion of our elevation came while riding across the bridge that crosses the Chickahominy River. We took a short break at the top to admire the view.


We stopped for a picture of mile marker 0 before minimally exploring the Jamestown Settlement. Without locks for our bikes we weren’t able to go into the museum and were only able to visit the sights outside.


We rode over to the Jamestown Quadricentennianl Plaza to check it out. After stopping by the fountain, we sought out the Virginia plaque which read, “Virginia: The first permanent English settlement in North America and the first of the thirteen original colonies.”


Back on the trail and almost ready to roll, we checked out the map before adding air to one of our bike tires. A few air pumps along the trail was a very nice feature.


As we started back west toward Dorey Park, I pulled out my phone to take pictures of a few sights I’d not captured on the ride out.


Hungry for real food, not just bars and chews, we stopped for lunch at Spoke & Art. We ordered delicious sandwiches and chips and sat outside enjoying the beautiful spring day.


More daffodils, this time perfectly framing my husband.


The retirement home of John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States, was one of many historical sites along the trail.


The goats were back on the trail on our return trip…


Virginia is for Lovers and we have LOVE signs all across the commonwealth. This Chickahominy Tribe sign was located in front of the Charles City County government and administration building.


I couldn’t ride past these flat open fields and farm without taking a couple of pictures. Farms always bring a smile to this farmer’s daughter’s face.


As we rode past this very swampy area, I kept looking for alligators after keeping an eye out for them while on our bike ride across Florida just a couple of months ago.


After a really fun, but exhausting ride, we could see that we were closing back in on our Darcy Park exit. We didn’t even broach the thought of riding on to Richmond. We were too tired and were cutting it close to getting to our Airbnb in time to join the rest of the family.


Post-ride Garmin, Garmin map, and elevation graph…


Day 2: Dorey Park to Richmond Loop

We had another beautiful sunny spring day for our second day’s ride; however, the temperature was quite different than on the previous ride. The temperature was 32° when we got up so we took our time getting to the park to ride and it was after 11 AM before we rolled. I’d failed to pack my winter cycling gear (it got colder than forecasted) so I wore my down coat in addition to my bike shorts, s/s jersey, and light jacket. I definitely could have used long pants, but at least I had my winter cycling gloves with me – my legs can handle the cold better than my fingers.

Upon arriving at the end of the trail leading from Dorey Park to the Cap to Cap Trail we encountered men replacing a section of pavement and had to ride around them.


After the initial couple of miles, the trail heading west toward downtown Richmond was quite different than the eastern section. The western end was more heavily populated and there were more road crossings.


Around 40 minutes into our ride we had our first sighting of downtown Richmond and the farther we rode, the more residential and industrial it became.


We stopped for a picture of mile marker 51, but there was still about a quarter mile to go before arriving at the end of the trail.


And because I looked so silly riding a bike wearing shorts with my down coat, I had to take a selfie. I have to admit that I was quite warm and cozy, and shockingly, never got too hot.


Much of the final section of trail paralleled or went under the elevated train tracks.


The official end of the trail was marked with a sign for exploring downtown Richmond.


The other side of the concrete wall/bridge support, welcomed people to start exploring the trail.


While reversing the trail to get back to Dorey Park I took a few additional pictures of scenes missed earlier .


Post-ride Garmin, Garmin map, and elevation graph…


Final Thoughts on the Ride

The two days were as different as could be, both from a weather perspective and our performance. Both rides were enjoyable in their own right, but neither was outstanding and made us say, “Wow, we need to do that again.” If I were local, I’m sure I’d ride the Cap to Cap Trail as regularly as I ride our W&OD Trail; however, for a destination ride, I doubt we’ll return.


  • • Virginia folks, have you ridden the Virginia Capital Trail? ~ This was my first time on the trail.
  • • Do out-and-back trails bore you? ~ Not at all, the view is so different on the return.
  • • Do you stop and relax occasionally to fuel or take pictures, or barrel on through when on a long run or ride? ~ Pictures, always pictures, unless I’m racing!


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