The Craig-Botetourt Scenic Trail is a proposed 26-mile recreational trail that follows the state-owned corridor once occupied by the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Railroad. Trails of this nature benefit local communities by increasing the number of locals and visitors that will frequent nearby current and potential restaurants, snack and coffee shops, outfitters, and short-term rentals, such as cabins or cottages. Similar trails have been shown to have positive impacts on local economies.
The land for the proposed trail has been publicly owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1961 when it was conveyed to them by the Western Pocohontas Corporation. The over 300-acre tract of land is at least 100 feet wide along its entire length. In 2022, the General Assembly created a State Office of Trails and appropriated $89 million for five priority trails across Virginia which included the Craig-Botetourt Scenic Trail. At their September 2022 meeting, the Commonwealth Transportation Board authorized up to $1 million dollars to support pre-construction planning activities for the Craig-Botetourt Scenic Trail.
In September 2023, the Virginia General Assembly passed the 2023 state budget in Richmond. Among the many bills passed, the State Trails Office appropriated approximately $54 million to be allocated to state trail projects (Item 451 #1h). One of those trails receiving funds is the Craig-Botetourt Scenic Trail (listed in the state budget as the “Craig Valley Trail”) which was allocated $12.5 million. Dollars allocated by the state for this project cannot be allocated to another local project.
Although many details about the project are still being determined, VDOT has provided answers to some of the more frequently asked questions regarding the proposed trail. These answers are based on VDOT's current understanding of the project. This information may change as the project progresses and more details become available. Find out more information by visiting www.botetourtva.gov/craigbotetourtscenictrail.