Blackwater Creek Trail In Virginia

Here is everything you need to know about the Blackwater Creek Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Virginia
  • Length: 8.6 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Lynchburg Parks and Recreation
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website:

The Blackwater Creek Trail, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, holds a significant historical background that dates back to the early 19th century. Originally known as the Blackwater Turnpike, this trail was established in 1816 as a toll road to facilitate transportation and trade between the city of Lynchburg and the surrounding areas. The turnpike was a vital link in connecting Lynchburg to the James River, enabling the transportation of goods and resources to and from the city.

During the mid-1800s, the Blackwater Turnpike played a crucial role in the region’s economic development. It served as a major transportation route for farmers, merchants, and travelers, allowing them to transport their products and merchandise to Lynchburg’s bustling markets and industries. The trail also facilitated the movement of raw materials, such as timber and iron ore, from the surrounding rural areas to the city’s factories and mills.

With the advent of the railroad in the late 19th century, the importance of the Blackwater Turnpike diminished. The construction of rail lines provided a faster and more efficient means of transportation, rendering the turnpike less relevant. Over time, the trail fell into disuse and was eventually abandoned.

However, in the late 20th century, the city of Lynchburg recognized the historical significance and potential recreational value of the old Blackwater Turnpike. In the early 1990s, efforts were made to convert the abandoned trail into a multi-use recreational path. The restoration and development of the trail began, and in 1996, it was officially opened as the Blackwater Creek Trail.

Today, the Blackwater Creek Trail serves as a popular recreational destination for locals and visitors alike. Spanning approximately 3.5 miles, the trail winds through scenic landscapes, following the path of the historic Blackwater Turnpike. It offers opportunities for walking, jogging, cycling, and nature appreciation, while also providing a glimpse into the region’s rich transportation history.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Percival’s Island Trailhead: Located at the southern end of the Blackwater Creek Trail, this trailhead offers parking facilities and access to the trail. It is situated near the intersection of Commerce Street and Jefferson Street in Lynchburg, Virginia.

2. Hollins Mill Park: This access point is located approximately 1.5 miles north of Percival’s Island Trailhead. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail. Hollins Mill Park is situated off Concord Turnpike in Lynchburg.

3. Langhorne Road Trailhead: Located about 2.5 miles north of Hollins Mill Park, this trailhead offers parking facilities and access to the Blackwater Creek Trail. It is situated near the intersection of Langhorne Road and Old Forest Road in Lynchburg.

4. Ivy Creek Park: This access point is located approximately 4 miles north of Langhorne Road Trailhead. Ivy Creek Park provides parking facilities and access to the trail. It is situated off Wiggington Road in Lynchburg.

5. Route 221 Trailhead: Located about 5.5 miles north of Ivy Creek Park, this trailhead offers parking facilities and access to the Blackwater Creek Trail. It is situated near the intersection of Route 221 and Graves Mill Road in Lynchburg.

6. Route 501 Trailhead: This access point is located approximately 7 miles north of Route 221 Trailhead. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail. Route 501 Trailhead is situated near the intersection of Route 501 and Greenview Drive in Lynchburg.

7. Shady Grove Road Trailhead: Located about 9 miles north of Route 501 Trailhead, this trailhead offers parking facilities and access to the Blackwater Creek Trail. It is situated near the intersection of Shady Grove Road and Timberlake Road in Lynchburg.

8. Route 460 Trailhead: This access point is located approximately 11 miles north of Shady Grove Road Trailhead. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail. Route 460 Trailhead is situated near the intersection of Route 460 and Leesville Road in Lynchburg.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Blackwater Creek Trail.

Transportation Available

1. Blackwater Creek Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service providing convenient transportation to and from various points along the Blackwater Creek Trail.
2. Blackwater Creek Trail Bike Rentals – Bike rental service offering a variety of bicycles for exploring the Blackwater Creek Trail.
3. Blackwater Creek Trail Pedicabs – Pedicab service providing a unique and eco-friendly way to travel along the Blackwater Creek Trail.
4. Blackwater Creek Trail Trolley – Trolley service offering scenic rides along the Blackwater Creek Trail with multiple stops for sightseeing.
5. Blackwater Creek Trail Segway Tours – Guided Segway tours allowing visitors to effortlessly explore the Blackwater Creek Trail and its surroundings.


The amenities available at the Blackwater Creek Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various points along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas provided for trail users. These parking lots are located at different access points along the trail.

3. Camping Sites: While camping is not allowed directly on the trail, there are nearby campgrounds and camping sites available for visitors who wish to stay overnight in the area. Some popular options include the nearby James River State Park and Otter Creek Campground.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas are equipped with picnic tables and sometimes grills for cooking.

5. Water Fountains: There are water fountains available at certain points along the trail to keep visitors hydrated during their journey.

6. Bike Repair Stations: The trail provides bike repair stations equipped with basic tools and air pumps for cyclists to fix minor issues with their bikes.

7. Benches: There are benches placed at regular intervals along the trail, providing resting spots for visitors to take a break and enjoy the surroundings.

8. Informational Signage: The trail features informational signage that provides details about the trail’s history, flora, fauna, and other points of interest.

9. Dog-Friendly: The Blackwater Creek Trail is dog-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their furry friends along for a walk or run. However, dogs must be kept on a leash and owners are responsible for cleaning up after them.

10. Accessibility: The trail is designed to be accessible to people with disabilities, with sections featuring paved surfaces and ramps for easy navigation.

Please note that amenities may vary and it is always recommended to check with the local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Hotel Roanoke – Historic hotel offering comfortable accommodations near the Blackwater Creek Trail.
2. The Virginian Lynchburg – Charming inn with a restaurant, conveniently located close to the trail.
3. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store – Casual dining restaurant serving American comfort food, situated near the trail.
4. Subway – Popular fast-food chain offering sandwiches and salads, located in proximity to the Blackwater Creek Trail.
5. Sheetz – Convenience store and gas station providing quick bites and essentials, easily accessible from the trail.
6. Lynchburg General Hospital – Full-service hospital providing emergency medical care, located near the Blackwater Creek Trail.

Blackwater Creek Trail Difficulty Notes

The Blackwater Creek Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans approximately 7.5 miles and features a mix of flat sections, gentle inclines, and some steeper sections. While the trail is generally well-maintained and easy to follow, there are a few rocky areas and tree roots that may require careful footing. Additionally, the trail crosses a few small streams, which can be challenging during periods of heavy rainfall. Overall, the Blackwater Creek Trail provides a satisfying and enjoyable hiking experience for individuals of varying fitness levels.

Features And Attractions

1. Blackwater Creek: The trail follows the scenic Blackwater Creek, offering beautiful views of the flowing water and surrounding greenery.

2. Percival’s Island: Located along the trail, Percival’s Island is a popular spot for picnicking, fishing, and enjoying the natural beauty of the area. It offers stunning views of the creek and the Lynchburg skyline.

3. Point of Honor: This historic site is situated near the trail and is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. Point of Honor is an elegant Federal-style mansion built in 1815 and offers guided tours to explore its rich history.

4. Lynchburg’s Historic District: As you walk along the trail, you’ll pass through Lynchburg’s Historic District, which is home to numerous well-preserved historic buildings and landmarks. Take a moment to admire the architecture and learn about the city’s past.

5. Amazement Square: Located near the trail, Amazement Square is a children’s museum housed in a historic building. It offers interactive exhibits and educational activities for kids, making it a great stop for families.

6. Kemper Street Station: This historic train station, located near the trail, was built in 1912 and served as a transportation hub for the region. It has been beautifully restored and now houses offices and businesses.

7. Lynchburg Community Market: As you approach the downtown area, you’ll find the Lynchburg Community Market. This vibrant farmers market offers a variety of fresh produce, local crafts, and delicious food options.

8. Monument Terrace: Situated in downtown Lynchburg, Monument Terrace is a unique landmark featuring a series of steps and terraces adorned with statues and memorials. It offers panoramic views of the city and is a great spot for a photo opportunity.

9. Lynchburg Museum: Located near the trail, the Lynchburg Museum is housed in the historic Old Court House building. It showcases the history and culture of Lynchburg through exhibits and artifacts.

10. Riverfront Park: Towards the end of the trail, you’ll reach Riverfront Park, a beautiful green space along the James River. It offers walking trails, picnic areas, and a boat launch, providing a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but riders must yield to pedestrians.
3. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail.
4. No camping or overnight stays are allowed on the trail.
5. Fires and open flames are strictly prohibited.
6. Littering is not allowed; please dispose of trash in designated bins.
7. Hunting or trapping is not permitted on the trail.
8. Fishing is allowed in designated areas only, following state fishing regulations.
9. Swimming or wading in the creek is not allowed.
10. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may be closed during inclement weather or for maintenance.
11. Please respect the natural environment and wildlife; do not disturb or harm plants or animals.
12. Use of the trail is at your own risk; be aware of potential hazards and exercise caution.
13. Respect other trail users and maintain a safe and courteous demeanor.
14. Bicyclists should wear helmets and follow all traffic laws.
15. No motorized or electric scooters are allowed on the trail.
16. Please stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
17. Use of the trail is free; no fees or permits are required for regular use.
18. Organized events or large group activities may require prior permission or permits.
19. Alcohol consumption is prohibited on the trail.
20. Please report any suspicious or illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.

Seasonal Information

The Blackwater Creek Trail, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers a picturesque and serene escape for outdoor enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit this trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. However, the spring and fall seasons are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and vibrant foliage.

In the spring, the trail comes alive with blooming wildflowers and lush greenery. The weather is usually pleasant, making it an ideal time for hiking, biking, or simply strolling along the trail. The Blackwater Creek Trail is also home to a variety of bird species, and birdwatchers can spot migratory birds during this time. Additionally, the trail offers beautiful views of the Blackwater Creek, which is often brimming with water during the spring season.

Fall is another fantastic time to visit the Blackwater Creek Trail. As the leaves change color, the trail transforms into a breathtaking display of reds, oranges, and yellows. The cooler temperatures make it comfortable for outdoor activities, and the trail becomes a popular spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Fall is also a great time for fishing in the Blackwater Creek, as the water levels are typically higher, attracting various fish species.

It is important to note that the Blackwater Creek Trail does not have any seasonal closures. It is open year-round, allowing visitors to enjoy its beauty in every season. However, it is advisable to check the weather conditions before planning a visit, as heavy rain or snowfall may make the trail slippery and unsafe. Additionally, during the winter months, it is recommended to dress warmly and be cautious of icy patches on the trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Paved Trail Surface: The trail is paved, providing a smooth and accessible surface for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Restroom facilities along the trail are designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail provide resting spots for wheelchair users.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas equipped with accessible tables and seating for individuals with disabilities.
6. Wheelchair Accessible Fishing Pier: A fishing pier designed to accommodate wheelchair users, allowing them to enjoy fishing activities.
7. Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is designed to be accessible, with ramps and appropriate signage.
8. Accessible Trail Maps: Trail maps available in accessible formats, such as braille or large print, for individuals with visual impairments.
9. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains along the trail are designed to be accessible for wheelchair users.
10. Accessible Interpretive Signs: Interpretive signs along the trail are designed to be accessible, providing information in various formats, including braille or audio descriptions.

Safety Information

1. Trail Conditions: Check for any trail closures or maintenance updates before heading out to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
2. Weather Awareness: Be aware of current and forecasted weather conditions to dress appropriately and avoid potential hazards.
3. Trail Etiquette: Respect other trail users by yielding appropriately, keeping pets on a leash, and disposing of waste properly.
4. Personal Safety: Carry a cell phone, ID, and any necessary medications, and inform someone of your planned route and estimated return time.
5. Wildlife Awareness: Stay alert and maintain a safe distance from any wildlife encountered along the trail.
6. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
7. Hydration: Carry an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated during your hike or bike ride.
8. Footwear: Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes or boots with good traction to prevent slips and falls.
9. Trail Markings: Pay attention to trail markers and signs to avoid getting lost or straying off the designated path.
10. Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with the location of emergency exits, first aid stations, and nearby medical facilities.

Conservation Notes

The Blackwater Creek Trail is a significant conservation area that plays a crucial role in preserving the natural environment and biodiversity of the region. As a designated conservation area, it is actively managed and protected to ensure the long-term sustainability of its ecosystems. The trail is recognized for its rich biodiversity, including a variety of plant and animal species that are of conservation concern.

Efforts are made to maintain and restore the natural habitats found along the Blackwater Creek Trail. This includes the preservation of wetlands, forests, and riparian zones, which are essential for supporting a diverse range of wildlife. Conservation activities focus on controlling invasive species, managing water quality, and promoting the growth of native vegetation. By maintaining the integrity of these habitats, the trail provides a sanctuary for numerous species, including threatened and endangered ones.

The conservation status of the Blackwater Creek Trail is regularly monitored to assess the effectiveness of management strategies and identify any potential threats. This involves conducting surveys and studies to monitor the population trends of key species, as well as the overall health of the ecosystem. By closely monitoring the conservation status, necessary actions can be taken to address any issues that may arise, such as habitat degradation or the spread of invasive species. The ongoing conservation efforts ensure that the Blackwater Creek Trail remains a valuable and protected area for both wildlife and visitors to enjoy.

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