High above the Appomattox River near historic downtown Farmville lies High Bridge Trail, one of the longest recreational bridges in the country.
This 31 mile bridge was converted from an old rail line into a unique Virginia State Park. Its wide, flat surface made from crushed limestone is ideal for hikers, bikers and horseback riders.
The Trail’s centerpiece, its majestic High Bridge, is more than 2,400 feet long and 125 feet above the river. It provides spectacular views for miles around.
High Bridge was originally built by the Southside RailRoad Company in 1854 as a way to cross over the Appomattox River and connect the towns of Petersburg and Lynchburg.
At that time the upper level held a rail bridge and had a pedestrian walkway alongside while the lower level was used by wagons to cross.
High Bridge Trail State Park is known mostly for its trails, but it is also a great place to visit for a day of exploring, sightseeing and fishing.
Pack a lunch and relax in the large picnic area at Camp Paradise, or at one of the many smaller picnic spots spread throughout the park.
Vault toilets may be found along the trails and downtown Farmville has modern restrooms open to the public. Downtown Farmville also has restaurants, shopping and museums worth checking out.
Virginia’s Heartland Regional Visitor Center and Transportation Heritage Museum at 121 E 3rd St in Farmville has exhibits about High Bridge and the area. And the Gift Shop on the Go, located at the Camp Paradise parking lot, sells bottled water, t-shirts and hiking medallions.
Here are a few activities that you can do during your visit to High Bridge Trail State Park:
Trails at High Bridge Trail
There are more than 40 miles of multi-use trails at or near High Bridge Trail State Park. Most of these trails are suitable for hikers, runners, bikers and horseback riders.
For hikers, the Camp Paradise, Smyth and Spur Line trails are ideal for those looking for a unique experience while the Burnside, Deering and Early Trails provide mountain bikers with a challenging single-track excursion.
This trail map provided by the park shows many of the options available in the park.
Here are several of the more popular trails:
- High Bridge Trail – Farmville to Orchard Road – An easy 15.1 mile trail that starts along mainstreet in downtown Farmville and follows the wide flat path all the way to the end of High Bridge and back. This trail is great for pedestrians or bicycles and has a nice view of historic downtown Farmville.
- Burnside Trail – A moderate 2.1 mile trail that is located within the Rochelle Tract of High Bridge Trail State Park near Farmville.
- Early Trail – Another moderate trail, 1.7 miles in length, that lies halfway between Farmville and the Park Road lot.
If you plan to bring your horse and ride be advised that you must dismount and lead your horse across any bridges. And you are also required to bring a negative Coggins report for each horse brought into the state park area.
Whether you’re walking or riding, be sure to stay safe and observe trail etiquette.
Fishing at High Bridge Trail
Fishing is another popular activity at High Bridge Trail State Park. The Trail crosses over sections of the Appomattox River and also runs parallel to it.
Access to the river is limited but once you find a good section to settle in you can catch bass, sunfish, crappie and many other freshwater fish.
Remember to pick up a freshwater fishing license ahead of time. You can purchase a Virginia fishing license online here.
Wildlife Viewing at High Bridge Trail
Many species of wildlife may be seen from above or below High Bridge Trail. In the wooded areas and along the trails it’s not uncommon to glimpse deer, rabbits, raccoons, opossum or other creatures.
Waterfowl such as ducks frequent the area around the river as well as the great blue heron and many osprey. Other birds you may see during your visit to this area are cardinals, wrens, chickadees and various types of warblers.
Pets at High Bridge Trail
Pets are allowed inside the park but not inside any of its facilities. Service dogs are not considered pets. Please keep your pet on a leash no longer than 6 feet or in an enclosed area and do not leave them unattended at any time.
Please also clean up after them; pet clean-up stations are available at Camp Paradise, River Road and in the Town of Farmville.
Lodging Near High Bridge Trail
Here are a few places close to the park that you can stay:
- Holiday Inn – 404 Sunchase Blvd, Farmville. Modern rooms, an indoor pool, fitness center, laundry and complimentary hot breakfast and parking.
- Longacre of Appomattox – 1670 Church St, Appomattox. English Tudor Style Bed & Breakfast.
- Bear Creek Lake State Park – 22 Bear Creek Lake Rd, Cumberland. Campsites and cabins are available to rent at this nearby state park. And while you’re there you can also swim, boat and fish in Bear Creek Lake.
- Holliday Lake State Park – 2759 State Park Rd, Appomattox. Camp, swim, hike, boat and fish during your stay at this nearby state park.
- Twin Lakes State Park – 788 Twin Lakes Rd, Green Bay. Lakeside state park with campsites, cabins and trails.
Attractions Near High Bridge Trail
The Adventure Park at Sandy River Retreat – Located only 6 miles from Farmville, this Zipline Adventure park and resort has cabins, cottages, an outdoor heated pool plus rentals of kayaks, canoes and bicycles.
High Bridge Trail State Park
1466 Camp Paradise Rd
Rice, VA 23966
Open Daily Sunrise to Sunset Park Guide & Map:
6888 Green Bay Rd
Green Bay, VA 23942
Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water with you, none is available on the trail. You can purchase bottled water at the Gift Shop on the Go at the Camp Paradise parking lot.
Entrances & Parking
Since High Bridge Trail passes through the towns of Burkeville, Farmville, Pamplin City, Prospect and Rice there are many entrances to the park:
- Rice – 642 Rice’s Depot Rd – ¼ mile off US 460 near trail milepost 3.5E
- Camp Paradise – 1466 Camp Paradise Rd, Rice – 3.2 miles off 460/Aspen Road near trail milepost 0.5*
- River Road – 555 River Road, Farmville – near trail milepost 1.2W
- Osborne – E Osborne Rd, Farmville – ¼ mile off Main St and near trail milepost 4.2W*
- Farmville – municipal lots off of Main St – near trail milepost 4.7W
- Tuggle – 4525 Hardtimes Rd, Prospect – off US 460 and near US 15N near trail milepost 10.5W
- Prospect – 187 Prospect Rd – off US 460 near trail milepost 13W*
- Elam – Sulphur Springs Rd – off US 460 near trail milepost 17.9W
- Heights School Rd – off of US Business 460 near Pamplin and trail milepost 21W
*Equestrian Parking also Available*
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing some of the features at High Bridge Trail State Park: