High Bridge Trail State Park In Virginia

Here is everything you need to know about the High Bridge Trail State Park:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Virginia
  • Length: 31 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/cct

High Bridge Trail State Park, located in central Virginia, holds a significant place in the region’s history. The park’s centerpiece, the High Bridge, is a historic landmark that played a crucial role during the American Civil War. Originally constructed in the mid-19th century as part of the South Side Railroad, the bridge served as a vital transportation link for the Confederate Army, enabling the movement of troops and supplies across the Appomattox River.

During the final days of the Civil War in April 1865, the High Bridge became a focal point of the Union Army’s pursuit of General Robert E. Lee’s retreating forces. On April 6, Union troops under the command of General Edward Ord launched an attack on the Confederate defenders stationed at the bridge. Despite fierce resistance, the Union forces managed to capture the bridge, cutting off the Confederate retreat and hastening the end of the war.

Following the war, the South Side Railroad was rebuilt, and the High Bridge continued to serve as a vital transportation route until the mid-20th century. However, with the decline of rail travel, the bridge fell into disuse and disrepair. Recognizing its historical significance, efforts were made to preserve and restore the bridge. In 2008, the High Bridge Trail State Park was established, encompassing the bridge and the surrounding area, providing visitors with an opportunity to explore and appreciate this important piece of history.

Today, High Bridge Trail State Park offers a unique experience for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The park’s 31-mile multi-use trail follows the former rail bed, providing a scenic route for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Along the trail, visitors can learn about the bridge’s history through interpretive signs and markers, gaining insight into its role during the Civil War and its subsequent restoration. The High Bridge itself stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of those who fought during the war, reminding us of the sacrifices made and the impact of this pivotal moment in American history.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Farmville Trailhead: Located in Farmville, Virginia, this trailhead is the starting point for many visitors to High Bridge Trail State Park. It offers parking facilities and restrooms.

2. Rice’s Depot Trailhead: Situated in Rice, Virginia, this trailhead provides parking facilities and restrooms. It is a popular access point for hikers and bikers.

3. Prospect Trailhead: Located in Prospect, Virginia, this trailhead offers parking facilities and restrooms. It is a convenient access point for visitors exploring the park.

4. Pamplin Trailhead: Situated in Pamplin, Virginia, this trailhead provides parking facilities and restrooms. It is a popular starting point for outdoor enthusiasts.

5. Meherrin River Park Trailhead: Located in Meherrin, Virginia, this trailhead offers parking facilities and restrooms. It is a convenient access point for visitors looking to explore the park.

6. Burkeville Junction Trailhead: Situated in Burkeville, Virginia, this trailhead provides parking facilities and restrooms. It is a popular access point for hikers and bikers.

7. Nottoway River Trailhead: Located in Nottoway, Virginia, this trailhead offers parking facilities and restrooms. It is a convenient starting point for outdoor enthusiasts.

8. Blackstone Junction Trailhead: Situated in Blackstone, Virginia, this trailhead provides parking facilities and restrooms. It is a popular access point for visitors exploring the park.

9. La Crosse Trailhead: Located in La Crosse, Virginia, this trailhead offers parking facilities and restrooms. It is a convenient access point for hikers and bikers.

10. South Hill Trailhead: Situated in South Hill, Virginia, this trailhead provides parking facilities and restrooms. It is a popular starting point for outdoor enthusiasts.

Transportation Available

1. High Bridge Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service offering transportation to and from various points along the High Bridge Trail.
2. Farmville Area Bus – Local bus service providing transportation within Farmville and surrounding areas.
3. Uber – On-demand ride-hailing service available in the area.
4. Lyft – Ride-sharing service offering convenient transportation options in the vicinity.
5. Farmville Regional Airport – Local airport providing regional flights and transportation options.
6. Greyhound Bus Station – Bus station offering long-distance transportation services to various destinations.
7. Amtrak Train Station – Train station providing rail transportation options to different cities.
8. Yellow Cab – Taxi service offering transportation within the area.
9. Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Car rental service providing options for personal transportation.
10. Bike Rentals – Local bike rental services available for exploring the High Bridge Trail and surrounding areas.


The amenities available at High Bridge Trail State Park include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various locations throughout the park for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: The park offers ample parking spaces for visitors, including designated areas for cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.

3. Camping Sites: High Bridge Trail State Park provides camping opportunities for both tent and RV campers. There are designated camping areas with facilities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to restrooms.

4. Picnic Areas: The park features several picnic areas equipped with picnic tables, grills, and trash receptacles. These areas are perfect for enjoying a meal or gathering with friends and family.

5. High Bridge: The park’s main attraction is the historic High Bridge, a 2,400-foot-long bridge that spans the Appomattox River. Visitors can walk or bike across the bridge, enjoying scenic views of the surrounding landscape.

6. Hiking and Biking Trails: High Bridge Trail State Park offers over 30 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. These well-maintained trails provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration.

7. Visitor Center: The park has a visitor center where visitors can obtain information about the park’s history, trails, and amenities. The center also offers exhibits, educational programs, and a gift shop.

8. Fishing: The park allows fishing in the Appomattox River and nearby ponds. Anglers can try their luck catching various fish species, including bass, catfish, and sunfish.

9. Wildlife Viewing: High Bridge Trail State Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Visitors can observe birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians in their natural habitats.

10. Interpretive Signage: Throughout the park, there are interpretive signs that provide information about the history, ecology, and natural features of the area. These signs enhance visitors’ understanding and appreciation of the park’s resources.

Please note that amenities may be subject to change or seasonal availability, so it is advisable to check with the park authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. High Bridge Trail State Park Campground – On-site camping facilities with access to the trail.
2. Appomattox Inn and Suites – Nearby lodging option offering comfortable accommodations.
3. Charley’s Waterfront Cafe – Restaurant with scenic views and a diverse menu.
4. Hampton Inn Farmville – Hotel located close to the park, providing convenient accommodation.
5. Uptown Coffee Cafe – Cozy coffee shop offering a variety of beverages and light bites.
6. Longwood University Police Department – Emergency services available on campus.
7. Centra Southside Community Hospital – Nearby medical facility for emergency medical services.
8. Farmville Police Department – Local police department providing emergency services and assistance.

High Bridge Trail State Park Difficulty Notes

The High Bridge Trail State Park offers a moderate difficulty level for outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans over 30 miles, providing a diverse range of terrains and landscapes to explore. While the trail is mostly flat and well-maintained, there are some sections with slight inclines and uneven surfaces, which may pose a challenge for beginners or those with mobility issues. Additionally, the length of the trail requires a certain level of endurance and stamina to complete. However, the park offers various access points and shorter loop options, allowing visitors to tailor their experience to their fitness level. Overall, the High Bridge Trail State Park offers a manageable yet rewarding level of difficulty for hikers, bikers, and nature lovers.

Features And Attractions

1. High Bridge: The highlight of the trail, High Bridge is a historic landmark and offers stunning views of the Appomattox River. It is the longest recreational bridge in Virginia and stands 125 feet above the river.

2. Farmville Downtown Historic District: Located near the trail, this district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features beautiful architecture, charming shops, and restaurants.

3. Rice’s Depot: This historic train station is a stop along the trail and offers a glimpse into the area’s railroad history. It has been restored and now serves as a visitor center.

4. Appomattox River: The trail follows the scenic Appomattox River for a significant portion, providing picturesque views and opportunities for fishing and wildlife spotting.

5. Camp Paradise: This former Civilian Conservation Corps camp is now a picnic area along the trail. It offers a serene setting with picnic tables, grills, and restroom facilities.

6. Meherrin River: The trail crosses the Meherrin River, offering another beautiful natural landmark and a great spot for kayaking or canoeing.

7. Pamplin Historical Park: Located near the trail, this park is home to the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier and features historic buildings, exhibits, and reenactments.

8. Briery Creek Lake: Situated near the trail, this 845-acre lake offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and hiking. It is surrounded by beautiful forests and provides a peaceful escape.

9. Green Bay: This small community along the trail is known for its historic charm and scenic beauty. It offers a glimpse into rural Virginia life and features several historic buildings.

10. Twin Lakes State Park: Located near the trail, this state park offers two lakes for fishing and boating, as well as hiking trails, picnic areas, and camping facilities. It is a great place to relax and enjoy nature.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed in designated areas of the park but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Bicycles are allowed on the trail but must yield to pedestrians.
3. Horses are allowed on the trail but must stay in designated areas and yield to pedestrians and cyclists.
4. Camping is not permitted along the trail.
5. Fires are only allowed in designated fire pits or grills.
6. Hunting is not allowed within the park boundaries.
7. Fishing is allowed in designated areas and requires a valid fishing license.
8. Swimming is not permitted in any of the park’s bodies of water.
9. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail, except for maintenance and emergency vehicles.
10. Littering is strictly prohibited; visitors must dispose of trash in designated receptacles.
11. Alcohol consumption is allowed in designated areas only and must comply with state laws.
12. The park operates from sunrise to sunset; overnight stays are not permitted.
13. Visitors must follow all posted signs and instructions from park staff.
14. Use of drones or other unmanned aircraft is not allowed without prior permission from park management.
15. Visitors are encouraged to respect the natural environment and wildlife, refraining from disturbing or feeding animals.
16. Seasonal restrictions may apply, such as closures during inclement weather or maintenance activities.

Seasonal Information

High Bridge Trail State Park, located in central Virginia, offers a unique and picturesque experience for visitors throughout the year. The best times to visit the park largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. Spring and fall are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and vibrant foliage. During these seasons, visitors can enjoy pleasant hiking and biking conditions, as well as breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

In spring, the park comes alive with colorful wildflowers and blossoming trees, creating a picturesque backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts. The moderate temperatures make it an ideal time for hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking. Fall, on the other hand, offers a stunning display of autumn foliage, transforming the park into a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold. The cooler weather makes it perfect for long walks or bike rides along the trail, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.

It is important to note that High Bridge Trail State Park has seasonal closures and limitations. During the winter months, certain sections of the trail may be closed due to inclement weather or maintenance work. It is advisable to check the park’s website or contact the park office for the most up-to-date information on closures and trail conditions. Additionally, some facilities, such as the visitor center or picnic areas, may have limited hours or be closed during certain times of the year. However, despite these closures, the park still offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration, making it a worthwhile destination regardless of the season.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the park entrance for easy access.
2. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with features like grab bars and wider doorways for wheelchair users.
3. Paved Trails: Smooth, paved pathways throughout the park for easy wheelchair navigation.
4. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic spots with accessible tables and seating arrangements.
5. Wheelchair Accessible Fishing Pier: A fishing pier designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
6. Accessible Visitor Center: Visitor center with ramps, wide doorways, and accessible exhibits.
7. Accessible Campsites: Campsites equipped with accessible features like level ground, wider paths, and accessible picnic tables.
8. Accessible Overlooks: Scenic overlooks with wheelchair accessible viewing areas.
9. Accessible Trailheads: Wheelchair accessible entrances to various trails within the park.
10. Accessible Interpretive Programs: Programs and activities designed to be inclusive and accessible for all visitors, including those with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Conditions: Check for any trail closures or maintenance updates before visiting the park to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions and dress accordingly, as the trail is exposed to the elements.
3. Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays while hiking or biking.
4. Insect Repellent: Apply insect repellent to prevent bites from ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects commonly found in the area.
5. Hydration: Carry an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated, especially during hot and humid weather.
6. Trail Etiquette: Respect other trail users by yielding to pedestrians, keeping pets on a leash, and following posted rules and regulations.
7. Wildlife Awareness: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid approaching or feeding wildlife for your safety and their well-being.
8. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a fully charged cell phone, a first aid kit, and know the park’s emergency contact information in case of any unforeseen incidents.
9. Trail Markings: Pay attention to trail markers and signage to stay on the designated path and avoid getting lost.
10. Group Safety: If hiking or biking in a group, stay together and communicate regularly to ensure everyone’s safety.
11. Trail Difficulty: Choose trails that match your fitness level and experience to avoid overexertion or injuries.
12. Nighttime Safety: Avoid hiking or biking alone at night and always use a headlamp or flashlight if necessary.
13. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out your trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting the park’s natural environment.
14. Swimming Safety: If swimming in designated areas, follow all posted rules and regulations and be aware of water conditions and depth.
15. Park Rangers: Seek assistance or guidance from park rangers if needed, as they are knowledgeable about the park and can provide valuable information for a safe visit.

Conservation Notes

High Bridge Trail State Park, located in central Virginia, is a significant conservation area that plays a crucial role in preserving the region’s natural and cultural heritage. The park’s conservation status is of utmost importance, as it encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems and habitats that support a wide array of plant and animal species. The park’s primary objective is to protect and maintain these natural resources for future generations.

One of the key conservation efforts within High Bridge Trail State Park is the preservation of its unique forest ecosystems. The park is home to a variety of forest types, including mixed hardwood forests, pine forests, and wetland forests. These forests provide essential habitat for numerous wildlife species, including migratory birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Efforts are made to ensure the conservation of these forests through sustainable management practices, such as controlled burns and selective logging, which help maintain the health and diversity of the forest ecosystems.

In addition to its forests, High Bridge Trail State Park also boasts several wetland areas that contribute to its conservation status. Wetlands are vital ecosystems that provide numerous ecological benefits, including water filtration, flood control, and habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species. The park’s wetlands are carefully protected to maintain their ecological integrity, with measures in place to prevent pollution and preserve water quality. These efforts help sustain the delicate balance of the wetland ecosystems and ensure the survival of the species that depend on them.

Overall, the conservation status of High Bridge Trail State Park is of great significance, as it strives to protect and preserve the diverse natural resources found within its boundaries. Through sustainable management practices and the preservation of its forests and wetlands, the park plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological health and biodiversity of the region.

Leave a Comment