Belle Isle, Richmond

Belle Isle is a small island in the James River that is very popular with locals and tourists. There are several thoughtfully planned trails that are great for hikers and mountain bikers. There is also a skills area available for people with the appropriate bikes. During my wandering, I saw kayakers and free climbers taking advantage of the April weather. There is a picturesque quarry pond on one side that is breathtaking. On the other side of the island, there is an old hydroelectric plant and some dry rocks that seemed very popular with the more sure footed visitors.

This area was once used to house US prisoners of war during the Civil War. Several cemeteries can bee seen across the river (most notably the Hollywood Cemetery) can be seen from across the river, as can a Dominion Energy building. There are several informational placards along the island for history buffs.

To get to the island, my husband and I first walked the Pipeline Walkway and then crossed the Belle Isle Suspension Bridge that runs under the Robert E. Lee Bridge. To get to the bridge, you pass by the Civil War Museum on Tredegar Street and walk to the big ramp up to the bridge. You can park in a lot here but it seemed very crowded when we visited. If suspension bridges are not your thing, there is an alternate entrance near 22nd Street.

Click here for more information to plan your visit.

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