by Rick Nevins with input from Michael Kaspareck, Reed Nester and others
Biking on gravel or otherwise unpaved roads can be great fun. It is a way to explore new, less traveled areas by bicycle. In fact gravel riding is becoming increasing popular as more people discover how awesome it can be! But where are there good places to "gravel grind" in Southeastern VA? This page will seek to provide a resource to assist others with finding these often otherwise hidden gems.
Gravelmap is an interactive database of gravel and dirt roads and paths, submitted and managed entirely by people who ride them. As we explore and verify more area segments, they will be added to this map.
The VDOT County Map website provides very detailed PDFs of VDOT roads, organized by County. These maps are dated but a good resource for identifying potential gravel segments.
This real estate assessment map shows roads and land ownership data for Charles City County
This interactive map of Virginia Unpaved Roads looked promising but doesn't show much for the immediate area.
Summary of Area Segments
The following table provides a snapshot of unpaved road segments in Southeastern VA consisting of James City County, York County, New Kent County, Charles City County, Surry County, King & Queen County and Isle of Wight County. This is intended to be a living document and will be updated as new segments are explored.
**If road is marked as "Verified" it means it has recently been cycled and determined to be passable and not marked as "private" or "no trespassing". In some cases, we have NOT determined that the segment is a public road but are assuming if it is not marked as private it is OK to use.
|Charles City||Farmer's Rest Rd||1 Mile||Gravel||Yes||More detail below||Link||Link|
|Charles City||Old Elam Cemetery Rd||1.5 Miles||Gravel/Dirt||Yes||More detail below||Link||Link|
|Charles City||Morris Creek Boat Ramp||1.25 Miles||Gravel||Yes||More detail below||Link||Link|
|Charles City||North Bend Plantation||0.9 Mile||Gravel||Yes||More detail below||Link||Link|
|Charles City||Kittiewan Plantation||?||?||No||From Weyanoke Rd it appears similar in length and surface as the access to North Bend Plantation. It is just next to North Bend|
|Charles City||Trees Pt Drive||?||?||No||Branches off Sandy Pt|
|Charles City||Cypress Bank Rd||?||?||No||Branches off Sturgeon Pt north of Glebe. It looks promising on satellite but both ends are marked as private. Leaving it on this list for completeness but best to avoid.|
|Charles City||Mill Trail Rd||?||?||No||Branches off Glebe|
|Charles City||Haupts Lane||3.2 Miles||Gravel||Yes||Between Roxbury Rd and Charles City Rd - annotated on the Gravelmap website. As of 8/8/19 it was closed about 2 miles from Roxbury. Hopefully only temporarily.||Link||Link|
|James City||Ware Creek Rd||2 Miles||Gravel||Yes||More detail below||Link||Link|
|James City||York River State Park - Backbone Trail||1.8 Miles||Dirt||Yes||Not gravel but gentle||Link|
|New Kent||Evergreen Rd||?||?||No||Turns off Mt. Pleasant connects to Old Telegraph|
|New Kent||Ware Creek Wildlife Management Area||?||?||No||Recommended by Mandi LaClair. Website here. Be wary of hunters during hunting season.|
|New Kent||State Rte 633 to Polish Town Rd||3.6 Miles||Gravel||Yes||Recommended by Reed Nester||Link|
|Surry||Cross Creek Trail (Rt 640)||?||?||No||Turns off of Southwark Rd (Rt 618)|
|Isle of Wight||Purvis Ln||2.5 Miles||Gravel||Yes||Recommended by Reed Nester||Link||Link|
|Isle of Wight||Morgart's Beach Rd||2.4 Miles||Gravel||Yes||Recommended by Reed Nester||Link||Link|
|King and Queen||Various||Varies||Gravel||No||There are quite a few gravel roads annotated on GravelMap in King and Queen County - we haven't ridden them yet||Link||Link|
|Newport News||Newport News Park Cycleway||5 Miles||Gravel and packed dirt||Yes||Surface is similar to what you might find on a rail trail. Good condition and gentle.||Link||Link|
|Newport News||Connector from Yorktown Battlefield Tour Rd to Newport News Park Cycleway||0.1 Miles||Dirt||Yes||Easy, gentle dirt path to get from the Battlefield Tour Rd to the NN Cycleway||Link|
|Newport News||Connector from Yorktown Battlefield Tour Rd to Siege Ln||0.5 Miles||Dirt||Yes||Easy, gentle singletrack dirt path from Battlefield Tour Rd to Siege Ln which can then connect to other unpaved segments to get to Harwood Mills Park||Link|
|Newport News||Siege Ln (formally Warwick Rd)||1.3 Miles||Deteriorating Pavement||Yes||Used to be a paved two lane road but was abandoned and closed to vehicles apparently some years ago.||Link|
|Newport News||Richneck Rd to Denbigh Short Way||1.2 Miles||Gravel and packed dirt||Yes||Segment to get to Denbigh Rd which can connect to another segment to Harwood Mills||Link|
|Newport News||Denbigh Rd to Harwood Mill Park||1.4 Miles||Gravel and dirt||Yes||Segment from Denbigh to Harwood Mills Park. Mostly gentle but some areas of mud and sand you may need to walk around.||Link|
|Newport News||Denbigh Rd to Richneck Long Way||2.5 Miles||Mix. Dirt, packed dirt and gravel||Yes||Section nearest Denbigh is more muddy. Section along the power line is mostly gentle although there may be some deeper gravel.||Link|
Farmer's Rest Rd turns off of the Virginia Capital Trail near Mile Marker 14. It is a one mile gravel "out and back". At the end of the road is a gate blocking further access. Signs in the area indicate the surrounding areas are the property of the Hit & Miss Hunt Club. This road is NOT a Virginia State Rd. It is not specifically marked as private, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is a public road. The road condition is fairly good with gravel over hard packed dirt.
Old Elam Cemetery Rd is a three mile road connecting from Glebe Lane in the north to Rt 5/John Tyler Hwy in the south. The southern half of the road is gravel/dirt and the northern half is paved. There is a gate which must be walked around between the paved and unpaved portions. The unpaved surface is good near the VCT but as you go north it deteriorates to mostly dirt. The paved portion is clearly maintained by VDOT, however it is not clear whether the unpaved portion is public or private. It is not specifically posted as private, but it also is NOT shown as a road on the Charles City County Real Estate Assessment map.
Morris Creek Boat Ramp begins at the end of the paved Eagles Nest Road and leads to a public boat ramp on Morris Creek. The surface is gravel in good repair, although there is a steep section leading down to the creek with deeper gravel that may be challenging.
The access road to North Bend Plantation is a beautiful, tree lined gravel segment in fine repair. This is an "out and back" road as you must turn around at the plantation house.
Ware Creek Rd is paved from Croaker Rd to the intersection with Mt. Laurel. The unpaved section is about 2 miles long and terminates on Six Mount Zion Rd. There is a longish and quite steep gravel climb on this segment. There is currently (June 2019) construction along Six Mount Zion for a new housing development so check before doing this route to determine the status of Six Mount Zion going South from the Warecreek Intersection.
Here is a route created by Reed Nester which goes over both the Purvis Rd and Morgart's Beach Rd segments
There are quite a few gravel roads annotated in King and Queen County. Reed Nester created a couple Ride with GPS Routes which traverse many of these gravel segments, but they have not bee verified yet.
This is a gentle, well maintained bike trail which goes around the circumference of Newport News Park. There is a connector past the 2 mile marker which will take you over to the Yorktown Battlefields. There is a sign marked "George Washington's Headquarters" where you make the turn.
This is a very nice 3 mile gravel road connecting Roxbury Rd to Charles City Rd. However, as of 8/8/19 it is closed about 2 miles from Roxbury. It looked like a temporary closing for some sort of repair or construction.