High Bridge State Park in Virginia

High Bridge Trail State Park is trail created by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation from a section of railroad that originally ran between Petersburg and Lynchburg.  The trail is closed to motor traffic and can be enjoyed for running, walking, biking, or horseback riding.

The crown jewel of the trail is a historic railroad bridge across the Appomattox River valley that played a role in Lee’s retreat in the Battle of High Bridge April 6-7, 1865.  The Confederates set the bridge on fire but didn’t destroy it.  The Union troops were able to cross it and chased the Confederates to Appomattox where Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865.
High Bridge Postcard

The bridge is 6 miles east of Farmville in Prince Edward County.  There’s a parking area close by for those who want to see it but aren’t able to walk a great distance.
High Bridge in Farmville1

The bridge is 2,400 feet long and stands 160 feet above the Appomattox River Valley.
High Bridge in Farmville3

The bridge offers magnificent views.  There are several spots on the bridge with benches where one can stop to enjoy the beauty.
High Bridge View

It was fun to ride and look.  I could hear cows mooing while I rode.
High Bridge in Farmville4

A friend visited the bridge a few weekends ago and told me that she was scared to ride over it because she’s afraid of heights and the sides made her nervous.  Note in the picture below that the sides are quite high and it would be very difficult for someone to fall off.
High Bridge in Farmville5

Norfolk and Southern donated 33 miles of the line in 2005.  The trail surface is crushed limestone and is flat as a pancake, making it an easy ride.
High Bridge Trail2

We parked several miles outside of Farmville at one of the trail heads along route 460.  The trail was relatively empty until we got to town. 

This old train station is along the trail just as you you enter Farmville.  I’m not exactly sure of it’s use now, but it’s great that it is restored.
Trail Station in Farmville

Farmville is home to Greenfront, a fabulous series of warehouse stores where one can shop for furniture, rugs, and home accessories.  It was painful to be so close and not get to shop.

I found a few vintage photos of High Bridge.  It’s amazing how clear the land was in the 1800’s, very different from now.
vintage high bridge 1vintage high bridge 2
vintage high bridge 3

Seeing this bridge was one thing that I definitely wanted to do this summer and now I can cross it off my list.  If you’re in central Virginia this summer, consider seeing this historic site for yourself.

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  1. This looks awesome! I take 460 from Newport News to Blacksburg (VT) and I never knew this was here. Thanks.

  2. I wasn’t aware of this trail. Looks like a great way to spend an afternoon. I’ve been to Greenfront and that’s another great place to spend an afternoon.

  3. I so want to go there now. I did not know Farmville had all those shops. My son and his family might want to take their bikes there too, I’m going to share this post with them. I love the history lesson, you need to add more of those (when you’re not sharing your Aunt’s old postcards). Thanks again for sharing!

  4. What a great bridge to visit and I am loving the high sides! I’ll have to remember this, if we are ever in the area.

  5. I love to learn about great trails around the country. It kind of makes me feel like I could settle anywhere and be happy. 🙂 Yours likes like a real treasure.

  6. I don’t like to go over bridges. Makes me feel like I’m falling. I feel that something is missing under me. I know it’s odd. Wouldn’t mind to start but at some point I’d have to turn around and hurry back.

  7. Ooh, great ride! I can just imagine my oldest trying to scale the side though. :s I don’t think I’ve ever shopped in Farmville…maybe I need to remedy that. 😉

  8. My husband and I have said that we are going to bike this trail in the Fall. Now I can’t wait!

  9. Oh my goodness Paula! What gorgeous photos! I do love Virginia. Such a wealth of beauty and history in one state. Oops! I mean one Commonwealth!

    Thank you so much for being part of Grace at Home!

  10. My palms are sweating just looking at your photos. They are truly beautiul and I love that the sides are really high, but there is that tiny little opening at the bottom that makes me nervous. Obviously, I’m too fat to fit through there, but what if my foot fell through and I got stuck or something? Yikes! Truly beautiful though. It’s realy cool to see the old pictures of it too.

  11. Hello Paula, I wanted to see if you would like to do a GUEST BLOG on High Bridge Trail (I saw your article and great photos on your site here) for Virginia State Parks?

    Please email if this is something you would like to do, similar to your article “High Bridge State Park in Virginia” would be grand. We always welcome guest bloggers, and can share plenty of links back to your site here on the article and photo credits. Our blog for Virginia State Parks is http://www.virginiaoutdoors.com/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaStateParks and website: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/

    Drop me a line if you are interested, Shellie 🙂

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