Every summer I make a list of activities that I'd like to try before the next school year starts. Last summer at the top of my list was a visit to High Bridge Trail State Park, a 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.
We enjoy biking and 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. The trail surface is crushed limestone and isflat as a pancake, making it an easy ride.
This old train station is along the trail just as you enter Farmville. I’m not exactly sure of its use now, but it’s great that it is restored.
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.
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.
The bridge is 2,400 feet long and stands 160 feet above the Appomattox River Valley.
The bridge offers magnificent views. There are several spots on the bridge with benches where one can stop to enjoy the beauty.
It was fun to ride and look. I could hear cows mooing while I rode.
A friend visited the bridge a few weekends before I did 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.
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.
Seeing this bridge was a great way to start my 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.
For more fun adventure ideas in Virginia, check out Virginia State Parks on Facebook.
Paula Skulina is a teacher by day and in her free time enjoys being active and domestic. Visit her blog,Sweet Pea, to follow along with her active and domestic adventures.