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Exploring Richmond’s ‘Poop Loop’

Andy Thompson

@richmondoutside
October 19, 2018 12:29pm

Ever heard of the Poop Loop? If you’re a mountain biker or a trail runner and your answered ‘no,’ you’re missing out. The Poop Loop is an approximately 3-mile, formerly-pirate (i.e. unsanctioned) trail built on city property adjacent to the waste water treatment plant. The area, as you might imagine, has interesting smells wafting through it from time to time (although not that often), thus the name.

The Poop Loop trail begins at Ancarrow’s Landing and heads into the woods south of the park along the river.

But where exactly is the Poop Loop, you ask? It’s south (downstream) of Ancarrow’s Landing in a patch of woods along the river. It was built by mountain bikers over 5 years ago and brought into the official city maintenance purview soon thereafter. But it still flies under the radar somewhat among casual trail users I talk to, especially trail runners. That’s why I was excited to see the Richmond Road Runners, RVA’s long-time running club is holding it’s first “Poop Loop 4ish Miler” on Sunday, October 28th at 6 p.m. I hope it helps get the word out about this underrated piece of singletrack, which sees very little use from anyone besides mountain bikers.

Click here to learn more about the race.

And even if you’re not interested in a trail race next to a wastewater treatment plant (How’s that for a sales pitch?), the Poop Loop is worthy of a trip. The trail itself is a blast for advanced mountain bikers, but I know a number of parents who take their kids with beginner/intermediate MTB skills there because it’s flat, twisty and fun.

See where Brander St. crosses train tracks then goes into the park? The entrance trail to the Poop Loop is in those woods on the south side of the entrance road immediately after crossing the tracks.

To get there, first follow these directions to Ancarrow’s Landing. As you approach Ancarrow’s, you’ll cross a set of train tracks then enter the park. As soon as you enter look to your left and right, you’ll see a trail cutting across the road surface into the woods on both sides. The trail to your right as you enter the park leads you to the Poop Loop. Follow that into a small patch of woods, then out into a meadow along the river then back into another forested area, which is the Poop Loop proper. You’ll see directional signs for the trail. Follow those, do the loop and you’ll arrive back at where you started.

For trail lovers looking to get away from the James River Park crowds or who want to explore something new, the Poop Loop is a great option.


About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?


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