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In the early 1900s, a train line nicknamed “the Huckleberry” was built to transport coal and provide mail and passenger service to Blacksburg. The line was also used by the Corps cadets at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (more commonly known as Virginia Tech), who unofficially renamed Blacksburg "Huckleberry Junction" because of the abundance of huckleberries that grew along the train line. The huckleberries grew after trees were cleared for railroad construction, and thereafter, the region became famous for delicious pies and jams. Although many of the huckleberries along the trail today have diminished, trail users can find huckleberry bushes planted around trail information kiosks.
The Huckleberry Trail is a mix of rural and rolling landscape, sometimes forested, sometimes wide open, and town life as the trail starts and ends in city centers. The northern trailhead is nestled in a residential neighborhood at the Blacksburg Area Branch Library in downtown Blacksburg, across from the Virginia Tech campus. You may hear a marching band in the distance or notice a game at the nearby Worsham Field on campus.
As you continue along this meandering trail, you leave the city and enter a rural landscape, passing behind quiet homes and through open fields and pockets of forests. Crossing under State Route 460, take care to stay with the Huckleberry as it heads southeast along the highway. Other options lead you to the roadway or fade away into farm fields.
The Coal Miner's Heritage Park at mile 4, just before you reach a railroad bridge over the still-active Norfolk Southern rail line, displays old mining equipment. Unlike most rail-trails, this trail has many gentle curves and slopes, providing diversity in your trail experience. In fact, it is on these steeper sections that the old trains were said to have slowed down enough for the cadets to hop from the cars and pick huckleberries before the train gathered more speed.
The trailhead north of New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg is the former terminus of the trail. Now you can either plow up the steep hillside to the mall-side pocket park (one of many on the trail) or branch off to the west around the base of the hill to run adjacent to the active rail line. A new bridge over SR 114 continues the trail behind big-box stores to Cambria Street and the trail’s current endpoint at the Christiansburg Recreation Center.
To reach the northern trailhead, take US 460 toward Blacksburg and turn onto Main Street (take the US 460 Business route), heading north. Turn left on Miller Street, heading southwest, and drive three blocks to Harrell Street, where street parking is available. The trailhead is located in the library parking lot on Miller Street. However, avoid using this lot; towing may be enforced for trail users parked here.
To reach parking near the southern terminus, take US 460 toward Christiansburg and turn right on State Route 114/Peppers Ferry Road. The New River Valley Mall is on the right on New River Road. Follow New River Road, which loops around the mall; trailhead parking is at the back of the mall.
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