The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail offers a quintessential rail-trail experience in central Virginia, midway between Lynchburg and Charlottesville (less than an hour’s drive from each). The trail is an easy, picturesque ride through a beautiful, natural setting with plentiful opportunities to see unique historical sites. The Piney and Tye rivers are constant companions, and you’ll cross five bridges on the seven-mile route, including a photo-worthy covered bridge at Naked Creek.
Begin your journey at the northern trailhead in Piney River, where a renovated depot serves as a visitor center and there is a new Historic Railroad Park to explore. The rail bed on which the rail-trail now rests was originally built in 1915 to haul timber to local mills. Along your journey, you’ll see other relics of this past, such as rail cars and a railroad weighing scale on display. The trail ends at the Tye River Depot, but note that there is no exit at this southern end; trail-goers will need to turn around and head back to Piney River.
The trail is primarily crushed stone and much of the way is wooded, offering a cool respite even during the hot summer months. White-tailed deer and other wildlife are plentiful and, during the autumn hunting season, trail users should wear blaze-orange clothing. The trail also passes through farm country and open fields. Come in the spring to see wildflowers sprinkling color into the lush green backdrop.
To access the Piney River trailhead (at 3124 Patrick Henry Highway), take US 29 to State Route 56 west at Colleen; turn right onto SR 56, and travel 5 miles to turn left onto SR 151. After 2 miles, you'll see the trailhead sign on left (3124 Patrick Henry Highway, Piney River). Parking for cars and horse trailers is available, as well as portable toilets.
To access the Roses Mill trailhead, take US 29 to SR 56 west at Colleen; turn right onto SR 56 and go abut 4 miles to left turn onto Roses Mill Road/SR 674). The trailhead is about 1.4 miles farther (around milepost 1.8 of the trail).