January FSO Hike on Fieldale Trail

January 6, 2018
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

January FSO Hike on Fieldale Trail

Dan River Basin Association to Hike Fieldale Trail January 6, 2018


You are invited to join members and guests of the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) on January 6 for a hike on the beautiful Fieldale Trail beside the Smith River in Fieldale, Virginia. Participants will meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Fieldale Park, 3521 South River Road (GPS 36.7007,-79.9336), near the site of the old Fieldale Iron Bridge for an out-and-back stroll. Coordinator for the outing is Wayne Kirkpatrick, DRBA board member and avid hiker.

Hikers may choose to walk a distance of from 1 ½  to 6 miles, since two sections comprise the trail—a 1.5-mile Upper Fieldale Trail from Fieldale Park to the original trailhead, and a 1.5-mile Lower Fieldale Trail downstream from the trailhead. Both segments are flat and easy to walk. Walking the entire distance out and back gives a total of six miles. The group will decide on the distance at the beginning of the hike, depending on the day’s weather and the desires of the hikers.  

Hike coordinator Kirkpatrick says, “Get your healthy lifestyle for the New Year started off right by joining DRBA for a brisk walk beside the Smith River along an early segment of the Smith River Trail System.”

Hugging the bank of the Smith River, the graveled Upper Fieldale Trail winds through woods and open fields to the trailhead at the Fieldale Canoe Access, where a restroom is available. From there, the natural-surface Lower Fieldale Trail enters the riverside forest and skirts rhododendron bluffs alongside the river to its downstream terminus. Towering sycamore trees shelter the trail, and gravel bars and rock formations in the streambed give voice to the river. 

Envisioned at a 2005 planning session of DRBA’s Martinsville-Henry County affiliate, the Fieldale Trial is part of the Smith River Trail System. Expected to extend from Philpott Dam to the river’s confluence with the Dan River at Eden, NC, the system is a branch of the Beaches to Bluegrass Trail across Southern Virginia. 

One mile of the Upper Fieldale Trail opened in July, 2007 and the Lower Fieldale Trail was dedicated in March, 2009. Built with both public and private support, the trail is operated by Henry County Parks & Recreation.

A special attraction is a section of the 1931 Fieldale Iron Bridge that carried traffic across the Smith River for nearly 70 years. When the bridge was replaced in 2009, present and former residents and friends of Fieldale from all over the United States contributed funds, time, and materials to save trusses of the landmark structure. The 54-foot portion of the historic bridge now proudly serves as nearby trail art.

Participants in the hike should meet at 10:00 a.m. at Fieldale Park, 3521 South River Road, at the intersection of Field Avenue and South River Road (GPS 36.7007,-79.9336).  Bring lunch, water, and a hiking stick; wear comfortable shoes or hiking boots; dress in layers of water-shedding artificial fabric or wool; and be prepared for rain or wind. All participants will be asked to sign a waiver form. 

Directions: From US 220 take the VA 609 exit towards Fieldale. Drive 0.3 mile and turn right onto Dillon’s Fork Road. Drive 0.9 miles and continue on Patrick Avenue for 0.6 mile. Turn right onto Field Avenue, then turn right into the parking lot of the Fieldale Park.

Outings and meetings of the Dan River Basin Association are open to the public without charge.

For more information, contact outing coordinator Wayne Kirkpatrick, 540-570-3511 or wynbtyk@embarqmail.com .