Southwest Virginia already has myriad trails used for recreational cycling, walking, running and other outdoor activities, but the Mendota Trail might be a gem in and of itself.

The rails-to-trails project was built on the bed of an old railroad line that connected Bristol, Virginia, to the rural community of Mendota in Washington County. The physical distance is only about 12 miles, but one end of the trail is an entire world away from the other.

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