New River Trail State Park
Foster Falls, VA

Park Size: 1,337 acres. Width averages 80 feet; length from Galax to Pulaski, 51.5 miles; Fries Branch, 5.5 miles; the total length is 57 miles.

In December 1986, Norfolk Southern Corporation donated a 57-mile tract of abandoned railroad right-of-way to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the establishment of a new state park. Because railroad tracks had previously been on the strip of land, the cinder roadbed needed very little grading. With the help and support of volunteer groups and chambers of commerce in the region, the park was able to open in May 1987 with four miles of trail. Since then approximately 57 miles of the park are open to the public.

The park parallels 39 miles of the New River, which is one of the world's oldest rivers and among a handful of rivers flowing north. There are two tunnels, three major bridges, 30 smaller bridges and trestles, 4 primitive camp grounds and no designated swimming areas, but tubing the New River is popular and tubes can be rented at the Foster Falls access, (276) 699-1034.

Fish for There are no designated swimming areas, but tubing the New River is popular here. Tubes can be rented at the Foster Falls access, (276) 699-1034.

Horse rentals available. Call Foster Falls Livery, (276) 699-2460, for rates and reservations

New River Amphitheater at Foster Falls-Millrace: The amphitheater is open year-round and rents for the entire day. The amphitheater seats up to 300 with standing room for about 100 more. There are six 110-volt outlets for the stage area. The stage is 24 by 40 feet. There are two dressing rooms, each 12 by 20 feet, behind the stage.

Overlooking the New River, Shot Tower was built more than 150 years ago to make ammunition for the firearms of the early settlers. Lead from the nearby Austinville Mines was Shot Tower at the parkmelted in a kettle atop the 75-foot tower and poured through a sieve, falling through the tower and an additional 75-foot shaft beneath the tower into a kettle of water. For a small fee, guests may ascend the tower which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

New River Trail State Park
176 Orphanage Drive
Foster Falls, VA 24360
Phone: (276) 699-6778
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of the Va. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.

LOCATION:This is a 57-mile long state park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. There are several entrances into this park. The park meanders through Grayson, Carroll, Wythe and Pulaski counties in southwestern Virginia and parallels the scenic and historic New River for 39 miles. This park is part of the Rails to Trails Program as it was donated to the state by Norfolk Southern Railroad when the railroad discontinued the line and removed the tracks. This park also serves as a link to numerous other outdoor recreational areas, including a town park in Fries, Mt. Rogers National Recreational Area, the Dannelly Fitness Complex in Galax, four Department of Game and Inland Fisheries boat launches and Shot Tower Historical State Park. New River Trail is minutes from Claytor Lake State Park. This unique park features 57 miles of continuous trail.

Learn more about park offerings by calling 1-800-933-PARK or email

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