17 August 2021

What to Do Along the Elizabeth River Trail

The Elizabeth River Trail, also known as the ERT, is Norfolk’s 10.5-mile-long walk and bikeable pathway that takes you through multiple neighborhoods with different waterfront views. Starting out in our thriving downtown, the trail winds you through a few historic neighborhoods and campuses and ends in the prestigious neighborhood of Lochhaven. The ERT is trickled with breweries and delicious restaurants along the way and if you are not familiar with our city, it’s a great lookbook to a day in the life of a Norfolkian. 

You can experience the ERT by bike, scooter or your own two feet. With Lime scooters scattered throughout the city, you can easily hop on and off the trail from just about any location. Renting bicycles at Pedego, located in Downtown Norfolk is also an option to explore. 

To help guide you on what is along the ERT, we have put together the below on what to expect and where to stop within each section. Happy Trailing!

Harbor Park – 0.89 miles

Technically the start of the trail, this stretch of path showcases the home of Norfolk’s minor league baseball team, the Tides, stadium Harbor Park.

Downtown Waterfront – 1.14 miles

Once you have passed Harbor Park, you will see beautiful views of the Elizabeth River on the edges of downtown. This portion of the ERT will have you pass behind the Waterside District and have you go through Town Point Park until you get to Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin. The Waterside District makes for the perfect stop to grab a bite to eat. Indulge in local seafood at Stripers and sweet treats at Carolina Cupcakery before you set off for the rest of your excursion.

Freemason – 0.73 miles

With the Battleship Wisconsin now behind you, you will find that the trail is lined with picturesque cobblestone streets, homes from the 1800’s — including the Hunter House Victorian Museum and boutique cafes, like Cure Coffeehouse. A hidden gem in this neighborhood is the Pagoda & Oriental Garden. You know you’re exiting this section of the trail once you pass Four Eleven York Restaurant & Inn towards Brambleton Avenue.

Sentara Loop – 1.48 miles

Once you go under and over a bridge, you will have overlooks of The Hague with European vibes along the ERT. At the end of The Hague, you’ll spot an Italianate structure, the Chrysler Museum of Art and the Glass Studio. If you are there around noon, be sure to watch their free daily glass blowing demonstration. As you continue along, you will pass private homes ranging in styles from Dutch Queen Annes to Shingle styles and Colonial Revivals in Ghent continuing to Redgate Avenue towards Chelsea and West Ghent.

Fort Norfolk – 0.92 miles

Hop off the trail and head to Fort Norfolk, the last remaining of 19 harbor-front forts authorized in 1794 by President George Washington. Just a quick tip you will need an ID to enter the fort.

Chelsea – 0.33 miles

This portion of the trail is worth a few hours of your time. Some of Norfolk’s most beloved restaurants and breweries are located all within the Chelsea District and better yet within walking distance from one another. Hop off your bike or scooter and head to Smartmouth and Benchtop Brewery, the Birch BarTorch Bistro or a local’s favorite, Orapax, a Greek restaurant. If you want to experience more than one place at a time, we recommend ordering a brick oven pizza from Chelsea Bakehouse and ask them to deliver it next door to The Birch

West Ghent – 1.42 miles

Leaving Chelsea, the trail will get a bit more scenic where you will travel through enormous pine trees that tower over you along Redgate Avenue, pass by Lamberts Creek and weave through Jeff Robertson Park, the perfect place to toss the frisbee. 

Lamberts Point – 1.09 miles

Leaving the park, you’ll pass the busy street of Hampton Boulevard, but quickly end up in a quaint residential neighborhood. Lamberts Point community garden can be found here and will have a feeling of wondering if you’re still in Norfolk or in the countryside of Virginia.

Old Dominion University – 1.13 miles

You will quickly go through Lamberts Point and then be on the beloved ODU campus. It can be seen and experienced while on the ERT. Expect to pass by the Powhatan Fields, Perry Library, the student center and Foreman Field.

Larchmont – Edgewater – 1.32 miles

Adjacent to ODU’s campus is the charming neighborhood of Larchmont. Weave through the streets where you will find the waters of Edgewater Haven and Myrtle Park – they are the perfect pit stops to take a water break and enjoy the view. Right off the ERT is D’Egg Diner, a local’s favorite diner, a perfect spot to refuel.

Lochhaven – 1.53 miles

The last part of the trail, Lochhaven, is where you’ll pass stunning residential homes that make you daydream, the Norfolk Country Club Marina and the Hermitage Museum & Gardens. The Hermitage is part of the prestigious Smithsonian Affiliations program and showcases a nationally recognized art collection spanning 5,000 years, contemporary exhibition galleries and 12 acres of gardens. 

After passing the gardens, you will find yourself continuing through the neighborhood until you reach the end. If you are feeling ambitious turn around and head back towards downtown Norfolk to make your trip a total of 21 miles!

For a virtual map click here!

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