Explore the Park: Buttermilk Trail

Things to do Here

Hiking & Walking
Scenic Views
Bird Watching
Mountain Biking

The trail parallels the south side of the river and is a real challenge and considered the most difficult of the different sections of the James River Park System. Buttermilk combines tight, twisty, fast descents and steep climbs with lots of rocks and roots. Several creek crossings and some bridges and rock gardens add character to one of the most beloved trail systems in the Richmond area.

Buttermilk consists of three trails. Buttermilk East runs from the Manchester Bridge to 22nd street; Buttermilk Proper Trail runs from 22nd Street to 43rd Street; and Buttermilk Heights extends to the Boulevard Bridge from 43rd Street. In general Buttermilk Heights has the most climbing and rocks.

Buttermilk Heights and Proper is a part of the very popular JRPS trail loop which includes the North Bank Trail. Buttermilk East connects with the Floodwall Trail and the Potterfield Bridge, adding an extra section to the loop.

Fast Facts

For everyone

Buttermilk is popular with birders, hikers, bikers, and dogs on leashes.


This trail was aptly named because when milk was still delivered to people’s homes, the milkman would store the buttermilk in a cool well that is still located on the side of the trail.


Open from sunrise to sunset every day.

Report an Issue Form

To report an emergency please call 911 immediately. Please use this form to report an issue in the Park such as maintenance or trail issues. Thank you.

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