High Bridge Trail State Park in Southside Virginia is a rail trail converted from a railway line, last belonging to Norfolk Southern and having originated as a portion of the South Side Rail Road.
Norfolk Southern’s last train crossed High Bridge on October 26, 2004. Just two years later, in December 2006, the company wonderfully donated 31 miles of the abandoned rail line to the Virginia State Park system. Now a state park, with the High Bridge as its centerpiece, the shared-use path for non-motorized traffic – pedestrians, bicyclists, and horseback riders – preserves and protects trail resources while helping educate trail users about local and national history.
The High Bridge Trail is 31 miles long and ideally suited for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Once a rail bed, the trail is wide, level and generally flat. Its finely crushed limestone surface make it easy to ride and enjoy.
Retaining the 3% grade of the original rail line, the rail trail features picnic, parking and toilet facilities as well as large oak trees, telegraph poles erected in the 1900s, remnants of the railroad’s signal system, and Norfolk Southern’s original cement mile markers.
Know before you go: If you don’t want to bring your own bike, or you decide you’d like to explore the High Bridge Rail Trail out of Farmville on the spur of the moment, you can rent bikes from the Outdoor Adventure Store, formerly called High Bridge Bikes, which is located literally across the street from the trail in Farmville. For more information about bike rentals, refer to the store’s web site at www.theoutdooradventurestore.com.
Getting there: There are multiple access points, including in Farmville, about 4 miles away from the High Bridge, as well as less than a mile away from the High Bridge, in the state park (940 River Rd, Farmville, VA 23901), although actually, the entire rail trail is the state park.
Access points where there’s parking:
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