- Find a Trail
- My TrailLink
- Explore Trails
- About Us
- Get Involved
The central feature for which the High Bridge Trail State Park is named is an unforgettable experience, towering 125 feet above the mighty Appomattox River and nearly a half mile (2,422 feet) across it. The bridge’s breath-taking view of the surrounding central Virginia countryside, combined with the ease of getting here (the trail is only about an hour’s drive from both Lynchburg and Richmond), makes it a must-see destination.
During the Civil War, the bridge—included on the National Register of Historic Places—was a strategic point for both Union and Confederate soldiers; both armies made attempts to destroy it to prevent the other side from crossing the river. About a dozen miles from the west end of the High Bridge Trail is the Appomattox Court House, where General Lee finally surrendered. Several museums and other historical attractions in Appomattox make the town a worthwhile side trip.
If you’re looking for a short, easy outing, begin your journey in the charming town of Farmville. From downtown, riders and hikers will only have to go 4.5 miles east to reach the bridge. The route follows the wide, gentle grade of the former South Side Railroad, a spur off the Norfolk Southern Railway. Along the way, look for the railroad’s three-digit mile markers dating back to the 1850s; those marked with N list the distance from Norfolk, while those labeled with a W notified railroad engineers to blow their whistles. For an even shorter excursion, park in the lot at River Road, about a mile from the bridge.
For the more adventurous, the rail-trail extends outward from either end of the bridge, totaling more than 30 miles through woodlands and rural farmland. Starting with the High Bridge as mile marker 0, newer, two-digit mile markers line the trail heading both east and west. In addition to Farmville, the communities of Pamplin, Prospect, and Rice are connected by the trail. The trail’s eastern end lies just outside of Burkeville.
The trail’s surface of finely crushed limestone is well suited for hybrid and mountain bikes, and horseback riding is also permitted. Restrooms are available en route, but drinking water is available only in downtown Farmville, so be sure to pack some.
To access the trail, parking is available at the following locations (west to east); a fee is required.
More parking locations are available, see the map.
Note for cyclists and equestrians: To access the High Bridge, cyclists might prefer parking
at the Rice parking lot, which is 3.2 miles from the bridge and 8.2 miles from Farmville; they might also wish to park at the Main Street plaza parking lot in Farmville, which is 4.5 miles from the bridge. Designated horse trailer parking lots are at Prospect (14.1 miles from the bridge), Osborn Road (3.9 miles from the bridge), and Camp Paradise Road (0.6 mile from the bridge).
TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails conservancy
(a non-profit) and we need your support!