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Closure notice: Starting in August 2020 and continuing as of January 2021, the Piney River Trailhead will be subject to ongoing closures due to nearby environmental cleanup work. Please use the Rose Mill Trailhead parking lot during this time, although parking will be limited. This will only affect roughly 0.5 miles of the trail. You may still access 6.5 miles of trail. More information can be found at the Nelson County Parks and Recreation website. For updates, call NCPR during office hours 434-263-7133
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 offers an easy, picturesque route through a beautiful setting with plentiful opportunities to see unique historical sites. Horseback riding is also permitted on the entirety of the trail.
The Piney and Tye Rivers are constant companions, and you’ll cross five bridges on the nearly 7-mile route, including a photo-worthy covered bridge at Naked Creek. The railbed on which the rail-trail now rests was originally built in 1915 to haul timber to local mills. Along your journey, you’ll see relics of this past, such as railcars and a railroad weighing scale on display.
Begin your journey at the northern trailhead in Piney River, just off VA 151. Here, a renovated depot serves as a visitor center, and a historical railroad park—complete with a refurbished caboose—is ready to explore. As the larger of the two trailheads serving this trail, Piney River also offers ample parking for cars and horse trailers, portable toilets, and a kiosk with nature information for kids.
A second, smaller trailhead is located on Roses Mill Road, 1.7 miles east of Piney River trailhead. Amherst County is in the process of expanding the parking lot here. At Hunter’s Bend, 1.9 miles south of the Roses Mill Trailhead, you’ll pass a new gazebo. Just 0.5 mile from Hunter’s Bend is the Naked Creek bridge. The trail ends at the Tye River Depot, but note that there is no exit at this southern end; you’ll need to turn around and head back to Piney River.
The trail is primarily crushed stone and is wooded much of the way, offering a cool respite even during the summer months. White-tailed deer and other wildlife are plentiful, so trail users should wear blaze-orange clothing during the autumn hunting season. 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 (at 1434 Roses Mill Road/VA 674), 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).
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